Thursday, March 12, 2015

Suit Yourself: Dressing Appropriately in the Workplace

It’s a Friday afternoon and you’ve just realized that you forgot to hire a lawyer to defend your case from a car accident that occurred days before. Today is the last day to do so, and without hesitation you throw the kids in the back seat of your now beat up mini van, grab your files, and head downtown. When you arrive at the attorney’s office to meet with your new lawyer, you mistakenly walk right past him. (He was the guy wearing faded blue jeans, standing right next to the coffee pot). You stand surprised, not because its four in the afternoon and he’s ridiculous for drinking a cup of coffee at this time of the day, but because your defendant, the guy you’ve entrusted with your court case, is wearing a t-shirt and worn jeans. Although his skills have proven to trump fashion in the workplace, dressing appropriately should be taken seriously because employees who do so have been proven to have ambitious emotions and employers and clients see the employee as being more professional.

Scenarios of this sort occur far too frequently in the workplace. Not that there is anything wrong with dressing casually in the office and I know it’s a Friday, but come on. Jeans and a t-shirt in an attorney’s office? We’ve all had a rough week so that’s no excuse. Surprisingly, some people don’t see this issue in this matter. Many people believe that fashion for employees should be looked over for the most part. These people believe that skills are the sole importance of a person’s being when employed. DON’T GET ME WRONG. YOU GOT THE JOB BECAUSE YOURE CAPAPLE AND QUALIFIED AND YOURE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO. However, through research, statistics, and personal experience, this opinion can be thoroughly refuted. Acquired skills and persistent adequacy uphold an employee’s position in the workplace. But aside from a paper resume, their first impression, aka their ability to dress themselves appropriately and with discernment, impacted their landing of said job in the first place.

Aside from impressive skills in the workplace, a high fashion sense leaves a lasting impression on an employee’s client and boss. Dressing sloppily will only keep an employee at a standstill, or even worse, get that person fired. Dressing as if you’ve spent five minutes getting ready in the morning, because you stayed out until 3 am the night before (or maybe you require extra sleep. Who knows?) will give off an unwanted vibe to your employer. It is always said to dress professionally in the workplace depending on your job, however, if one dressed only in accordance to their job, how would he or she accumulate a higher position in his or her company without ambition? Rather than dressing for the job the employee has, he or she should dress for the job they want. Whether we want to admit it or not, a professionally dressed person is portrayed as an educated person. Whether he or she is educated or not, employers are not automatically resistant because of what they see from the outside.

In sororities and other university organizations, members are expected to wear “pin attire,” or formal business attire for the sole purpose of putting up a good front. Students are taught the importance of dressing professionally for not only job interviews, but at work every day as well. Any day in the work place could end up being a first impression, whether having to do with clients or the owner of the business stopping by for a visit.

Along with sloppy clothes, tattoos and piercing usually do not leave a good impression in the workplace. AND BEFORE I GO ON, I MUST SAY IM A SUCKER FOR TATTOOS AND I HAVE A FEW PIERCINGS MYSELF. But it’s the truth. A primary reason for this is because tattoos and piercings signify an employee’s bad decision making. Tattoo’s and piercings, (not all, but some), have been a result of a vast decision made by a young adult who was dared (or slightly intoxicated) to get an ass tat that says “made in Texas.” GUYS. You think I’m being irrational but I have a friend with this exact tattoo and I question her intelligence daily. Luckily, it’s on her butt because that was a part of the dare, but if dared to get it tattoos across her forehead, who knows what the outcome would be. She’d be unemployed, that’s for sure.

With that being said, wide assortments of tattoos are acquired with a significant meaning to the person who decided to have the procedure done. But without the significance behind the permanent ink filtrated into one’s skin, regret often takes a toll months, or even days, after the occurrence. If a person of the sort makes vast decisions, think about the result that can evolve from the same person dealing with your finances, or hell, your wellbeing for that matter.

Disregarding opinion of the matter, a recent study has shown that employees who dress appropriately for their position in the workplace have been proven to have ambitious emotions at work. In this study, people were given doctor’s coats to wear while taking a test. Later, another group of people were given the same coats but were told that the coats were artists coats. The people who were under the impression that they were wearing doctors coats scored far higher on their exams than those wearing the “artists coats.”

People have been proven to associate emotions with clothing. Think about it. How do people who want attention dress? How do self respecting people usually dress? Can putting on a fireman’s coat evoke courage? Can wearing the robe of a priest or judge cause people to act more ethically? (I was a Nun this past Halloween, and if I do say so myself, naturally, I was on my best behavior). If something as minute as a doctors’ coat can make this big of a difference, imagine how ones work could significantly improve every day in the workplace if he or she thought of himself or herself on a more distinct scale. Clothes are not just a device of perception, but a tool that can really affect how one sees themself and performs.

In comparison, some people may not associate clothes with emotions because the clothing they wear becomes habitual. The person may or may not be efficient at what they do on their own accord, however it is not just how employees attire is perceived by themselves but by their employers and clients as well. I firmly believe that most of us would share a moment of doubt (and most likely discomfort) if the pilot of a transatlantic flight showed up for work off wearing a Juicy Couture jogging pants.

Unfortunately, like it or not, if a person wants others around them to think they have their life in order, that person is more likely to prove it by dressing the part. One’s appearance is all others see at first glance and it is important to dress the part in order to be taken seriously. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’d prefer my lawyer defending my case in a tailored suit, rather than a stained up t-shirt. It would benefit the both of us.

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