Do you have a dress code at work? Whether or not you do, see the blog written by Jim Mullaney, Edoc’s CEO, that raises the question: “Are the best artists in suits?” (See the post here.)
Given all the responses already received, I compiled some of the top responses to the blog, again, where we talk about whether or not we really do our best work in suits–rather than dressing comfortably at work. See some of the responses to the article below, and then let us know what you think:
Having been in the consulting business for the past 26+ years, our “norm” has been to adapt our dress to stay consistent with the clients we serve. We want to be professional and sharp enough to stand out, but never so much that we stick out.
Jim identifies the issues in todays “required” dress codes. Dress codes are in a state of continuous evolvement. We see that in society and in the workplace from generation to generation and decade to decade. The key takeaway is to dress for success – whatever that may be in a workplace or social setting.
I don¹t feel you can generalize on this issue. It depends on the circumstances and the occasion. If making a sales call on a P&G manager, I feel you need to wear a suit & tie, conversely if you’re calling on a Mom & Pop retail outlet casual attire would be appropriate. So in my opinion generalizing on this issue doesn’t work.
I will say that I can relate that I feel more confident when I feel like I’m dressed up. It’s a mental thing more than an appearance thing. But if I was a creative type, I might not feel the same.
For many professions, we have to wear a uniform. For instance it would be weird to see a fireman in a suit and tie, or a doctor in a bright orange lab coat, or someone that is advising you about money in a t-shirt and shorts. We all have a perceived notion (often dictated by TV) of what we should look like at work. If we feel good about what we’re doing, and we are effective with who we are doing business with, then I say there should be no rules.
We tend to dress to the client at Cassady Schiller (but sometimes that means we are overdressed). I think I’d rather error on the over- dressed side than under- dressed.
Good article Jim! I agree that we need to match our environment when we dress. I think there’s a typo where it says “high states” rather than “high stakes”.
My early years of teaching at Fairfield High, all the men teachers were required to dress in suits or sport coats with ties. You would be sent home to change and docked if you showed up in anything less. It is quite different today in schools and college. I would say that society has continually transitioned. In schools and in many businesses the dress has changed to casual, sometimes too casual. Even if you are required to wear a coat, the first thing everyone does is to hang it up and run without it the rest of the day and then put on to go home. – Why? I still have about 7 suits and 4 sport coats in the closet I only wear to formal occasions or funerals. No need to dress up otherwise now…
I will say Rotary has changed too. When I first joined, I would come in levi’s every Friday and really felt out of place. The reason I did it was I would go to Miami Oxford from the CAC to “throw pots” which practice was very muddy. Now I see many others in levi’s. I must be a trendsetter.
Overall I agree. However, perhaps there is enough tradition left in me to say that I think there are limits. Cutoffs and flipflops probably won’t win on most sales calls, at least in my business! But business casual has overtaken ties and wingtip shoes. Suits are almost non-existent in my world, except perhaps in large presentations. Tomorrow I will be making a presentation at the Ohio Safety Congress. I will have a collared dress shirt and sport jacket (and yes, pants!). I will probably be better dressed than most or all of the attendees in my session. I am not sure if anyone will even be recognizing my attire, though. I suppose my goal is to not stand out on the “sloppy” end of the equation, and also on the “overdressed” end either. I want to avoid both “what a slob” thoughts or comments, and also “what a prima donna.”
Angie Pieper Gray:
I personally love dressing down – it makes me happy. Maybe that makes me more productive? Not sure. But if I had to wear a suit ever day, that would be awful! LOL
I think it is more like the author’s pen….where do you do your best thinking/writing…then use that or go there to get it done.
Times have changed. When I graduated from college it was white shirts and ties with suits. Then colored shirts were okay. Then casual day(s) set in. Now seeing a man or woman in a suit is rare. Very professional looking when it is needed. A collar on a shirt should be mandatory in an office setting.
Society is definitely switching expectations from a suit and tie to much more casual. That said, I’ll share two examples to keep in mind:
1) Interviewing for a Job
I recommend to candidates to dress one step up from what the dress attires is for the company they are interviewing with. So, to your point, if the company is jeans and you show up in a suit, it may be overdressed and hurt you. I’ve had managers argue the opposite saying the best dressed you’ll ever see an employee is on the day they interview.
As a woman and younger (and especially when I was younger), appearance actually does make a difference. If I’m dressed casual, I don’t get near the respect as when I’m in a suit, especially when I was younger. I pay attention to where I’m going and who I’m meeting to adjust just how formal. But, I definitely see a difference.
In my world today I do not see many suits. The holdover from the suit days is an open color one color button up shirt with dress pants and a sports coat. That being said I also see plenty of people who show no respect for themselves nor the people they associate with in their choice of clothing. Torn jeans, while the fashion in some circles, has no place in corporate or even small business. No doubt that in a negotiation whoever dresses for success usually wins. It is never out of style to over dress in a situation. Yes you may stick out, and that may very well be the point. I do see many professionals who wear clean clothes (I cannot even believe I have to say that), tucked in shirts, jeans, and some type of footwear that is usually not shined, in many of the business settings I visit on a regular basis.
My bottom line is that the person I am dealing with should present a presentable appearance. If they show me they care about their appearance then I believe they will care about my customer or my business. That has been my experience.
What do you think? Do the best artists really do their work in suits? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter at @edocservice
READ MORE: “How to Adopt a Virtual Culture“
Kim Sykes is a marketer and content creator at Edoc Service Inc, a total virtual company