I recently read a nice online blog on the subject above ( please see link below)  , and it got me thinking. In the times of young forward thinking offices of Yahoo, Google, Facebook, you find that they are changing the old paradigm of work spaces. A lot of the cool offices now boast open work spaces, free food, creative and flex spaces…and now freedom of dresscode. If you watched the movie The Social Network: Facebook one of the funny scenes is you see the protagonist Mark Zuckerberg walking into a deposition where he is wearing addidas flip flops. Funny as it may seem, this represented a silent rebellion to the old ways of thinking in terms of dress. Many tech company’s allow this sort of freedom, a freedom to wear what they want and be comfortable in the work place. A lot of people find this new freedom of dress to be a nice change. I have worked in both environments where dressing in suit and tie every day to wearing pretty much anything you want to work. BOTH have their advantages and Both have their disadvantages.

When I worked for the financial industry I found that dressing up in suit and tie created a sense of professionalism that was needed in that industry. Imagine, showing up to do your financial decisions and here is a guy with ripped up jeans, flip flops, and a South Park T shirt…It would probably make you think twice before you signed a 30 year fixed mortgage with that person right? Dressing up really makes a difference. Walking dressed up makes you walk taller, and for a lot of people makes them feel more confident. Some of the disadvantages can be the financial aspect. It costs money to dress nice. It also costs money to keep these clothes clean. Dry cleaning on the weekly costs more than throwing a pair of jeans and t-shirt into the washing machine. Dressing up also can be inconvenient for getting ready in the morning. It takes people about 10 more minutes per morning to get ready when dressing up (especially if you have to iron, steam, or put make up on).
When I moved to the freight industry, the company I worked for had a pretty relaxed dress code. As sales reps you could wear what you wanted to the office. This was simple and easy because you were always comfortable. This also allowed you to show a little bit of personal style. If you wanted to wear your Guns n’ Roses T shirt, No Problem ! If you wanted to wear your Juicy couture sweats on Thursday you could do that too. Problem with what I found was that on days that I dressed like a bum, I felt like a bum. This affected work and motivation on many levels. When the economy hit in 2009 and we started to build our business from the ground up, I noticed that I was still dressing very casually and that it had an effect on my productivity. Some days I just felt like taking it easy. And I did. Obviously this is not the right way to start a business. I knew something had to change. We started by making small unsaid changes in the office: No shorts, no Flip flops, no t-shirts with graphics.

As our company started to evolve, we started to evolve in our dressing. We have been building BOA the brand for 3 years and I have seen firsthand that dressing up for work clearly affects the productivity and the atmosphere at work. We started wearing leather shoes and leather boots. We started wearing slacks and nice jeans. Long sleeve collared shirts and blazers became a staple. Before we knew it, we were dressing up like we were going to an evening party every day. We never made it a rule on how to dress, but our employees started to follow suit. When they started dressing up we made sure to really complement how nice they looked. It permeated throughout the day and found that the people dressing up were usually pretty nice on the phone…they felt better about themselves because they dressed up.

I have come to the conclusion that the Europeans have it right.There is a happy medium between casual and business formal apparel. I call it Happy Hour Chic! You have to dress up for life. You don’t need to have a 3 piece suit every day, but if you are able to go straight after work to a social function like a happy hour, or a nice dinner, or a date…you are probably dressed appropriately. Give it a try…you will find that it will be at the very least you will be making decisions based on the way you feel .


How Does Workplace Attire Affect Productivity?





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