Over the past five years I’ve seen every type of clothing attire at work, from business suites to low-cut tops and jeans to gym clothes. Through it all I’ve had a lot of women ask me about the connection of clothing and career success. Based on two recent surveys, it appears that “casually dressed workers may be risking career success for the privilege of being comfortable” according to Marcia Heroux Pounds.
Key survey results from the article:
- How employees dress at work directly affects their prospects for a promotion (survey of workers and HR professionals by Yahoo HotJobs and Banana Republic).
- While employees who dress casually are perceived to be more creative and fun, they also run the risk of being taken less seriously (survey by TheLadders.com, and looking at executives’ attitudes about dress code).
The article also included good suggestions for clothing attire at work:
- Pay attention to what your boss wears
- Make sure your clothes fit well
- Tone down your look for work
- Keep a nice pair of shoes and a blazer in your cubicle/office so you’re prepared for high-level meetings
- Always be ready for an unexpected meeting with the CEO
- Even on “casual day,” dress stylishly and professional
Not sure what’s appropriate attire where you work? Ask your manager. According to the Yahoo survey, “61 percent of workers admit they either don’t know or don’t care about their company dress code.” I don’t think it’s worth risking career success over clothing. Do you?