Did you ever find yourself wanting to dress up for work but were afraid of drawing attention to yourself? If the rest of your office is dressed casually do you have conform? We get asked this question all of the time. Is it a no win situation? We came across this post on Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist that we had to share on how to dress at the office from a male perspective. You can read the entire article entitled Google guy: Dressing for Success here.
-By Jason Warner — One of my direct reports told me I’m wearing VP shoes. Apparently, my Eccos are the most popular shoe brand among vice presidents at Google.
It’s not surprising that I dress like a VP. Because dressing like what you want to become is an important part of an overall career strategy. What surprises me is how many professionals don’t recognize this or simply choose to ignore it. But it’s not as simple as dressing for success. This is one of those times where too much or too little can make all the difference. The key to dressing like that which you want to become is to only do it 75%. If you go overboard, you’ll distance yourself from your peers, which is why the discussion about VP shoes threw me. I never want to distance myself from the people on my team. You have to be careful about this.
Here are some guidelines you should follow.
1. Don’t look like you’re trying too hard.
It is part of our corporate culture that you don’t have to dress up to be serious, but the groups I support are sales and operations, and they all dress in a business casual. They wear nice slacks or khakis, nice shoes (lots of ECCOs, actually, now that I’ve started paying more attention) but they wear quality clothing. So I choose to dress like them and buy nice stuff. I try and invest in nice shoes and belts, and also nice quality shirts. You can get away with buying inexpensive pants — Dockers, for example.
2. Don’t put yourself on the wrong side of the middle.
I see lots of people screw this one up. They see that some of those above them dress casually, so then they choose to dress casually. If you choose to dress like those above you, aim for the right side of the bell curve and dress like the successful people. If everyone dresses casually, then you are on your own, but I’ve found that there’s usually at least a light correlation between the best dressers and the best performers.
3. Don’t dress more than 30% above your level.
Okay, so some of you can swing the Rolex watch in your first job out of college, and to you I say, “Great choice in parents”. For the rest of us, the fastest way to distance yourself from peers and those above you is to overdress the part. It creates awkwardness all the way around. The CEO doesn’t want to see you wearing the same watch she does, nor does your counterpart in the next cube who has been with the company twice as long as you. It’s okay to step it up a little, but show some restraint. It is best to be slightly more done out than your cube-mates.
–So does the motto dress for the job you want not the job you have not apply? Do you agree with the above? We can only advise you that if your office is super casual then it is best not to wear a suit everyday to work. Your boss may think you are going on an interview or may start to feel your motive is to obtain their position. It is best to wear business casual that way you can still look professional and authoritative but fit within your team.
Every week we show you our examples of business casual outfits. Here are some of our faves that are perfect for the office:
At Workchic, we are constantly thinking of ways to take the stress out of getting dressed for the office. Stay tuned on more ways how you can dress for success!