What I would like to be able to say is that we should all be able to dress in any way that makes us feel good, feel comfortable, but sadly if I turned up for work in my combats, trainers and t-shirt I wouldn’t give much for my career prospects.
It does matter how we look. How you dress for work should be influenced by the way in which you want to be perceived, first impressions do last.
Your appearance needs to be appropriate to the occasion. We all know instinctively to make that extra bit of effort for an interview, because we are trying to impress. It’s the same everyday at work – whether we like it or not. Our bosses and colleagues are subconsciously judging us and our performance by the way we present ourselves. Some people even believe that we behave differently when we look different too.
That doesn’t mean that we should all rush out and spend a fortune on expensive brand label clothes in the sales (but if you’re looking for an excuse, who am I to stop you), but the clothes you wear need to be smart, clean and tidy. If you are meeting influential people they need to be even smarter. Dare I suggest it but I’d also recommend the more important the person, the more conservative you should dress. The last thing you want is to distract your audience from your message by your appearance.
Check out your organisation’s dress code too for tips. Although, even if your organisation has a “dress down day”, I’d be tempted to go for smart casual, rather than casual casual.