What do you wear to work? Chances are you probably don’t put a lot of thought into it since you’ve gotten into a wardrobe routine. Of course, if you’re like Steve Jobs you may have created a work uniform that’s essentially the same outfit over and over.
Many people get dressed in the morning with personal taste and the latest fashion trends in mind. After all, your attire reflects your personality to the rest of the world. But when it comes to work, there are some other considerations to keep in mind.
Function First and Foremost
Work is all about getting a job done. That means in a perfect world your clothes should help you with your work rather than hinder you.
Take military personnel for example. Their job requires a lot of tactical gear, gloves and military combat boots. The same holds true for police officers and firefighters. If they aren’t probably equipped it could lead to dire consequences on the job. Their attire and accessories also help relay that they are authority figures, which plays into their work.
While most scenarios aren’t this extreme, the concept is the same for all jobs. The top priority is to get the job done and do it safely. When you get dressed to go to work you have to dress for the occasion, so to speak.
This plays into functionality to a large degree, but comfort is important for your own well being. If your clothes are uncomfortable it’s going to be a distraction. Also, looking uncomfortable does nothing for you when you want to make a good first impression.
Fit and material selection are both important in terms of comfort. Clothes should be fitted without being too snug. You’ll also want to watch out for materials that are scratchy and don’t breathe well. Synthetic materials tend to hold in heat, which can lead to dreaded pit stains when the stress sets in at work. You’re better off sticking with natural materials like cotton and linen.
As much as fashion is a personal choice, in the workplace what other people wear matters as well. Plus, your company could have unspoken (or well established) standards for work attire.
Always follow the dress code guidelines. It’s a matter of respecting your employer. If you have a huge problem with it start looking for another job or maybe suggest ways they can loosen it up a bit so employees have a bit more freedom.
You may have heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Turns out that’s sound advice in many work environments. Studies have shown that when you dress nice it increases your success rate at work. How you dress can even improve your chances of getting hired in the first place.
This largely boils down to other people’s impression of you. As noted above, your clothing plays into what people think of you. First impressions account for 55% of what a person thinks of you even after getting to know you.
If your attire is similar to the other person it can create an immediate connection. So if you want to land a promotion you may want to start taking note of what your boss wears to work.
In most work environments, conservative and professional is the way to go. However, adding a little bit of personality to the look doesn’t hurt. Wearing shoes in an unexpected color or a bold tie can help you stand out without sticking out like a sore thumb.
The Confidence Factor
What you wear can have an impact on your confidence. When you feel like you look good in what you’re wearing it gives you a confidence boost. And a confidence boost can increase your success at work.
People who are more confident tend to perform better, take more initiative, advocate for themselves and are effective decision makers. Confidence is a matter of knowing what you’re good at and acting in a way that exudes confidence without arrogance. One of the easiest ways to do that is dressing your best.