In this nicely presented and researched post, “Get Hired, Get a Raise, and Get Paid More by Improving Your Appearance, Digerati Life presents some surprising statistics.
I am over-weight. Okay, spade a spade time, I am considered obese by the medical community. I never worry about whether I’ll float in the swimming pool. Still, I’m lucky enough to be proportional and with a large, yet hour-glass shape. That means I can still wear fashionable styles.
We just had an announcement come down from HQ on a formal dress code for the company (day job). It eliminated casual Fridays and the wearing of jeans unless necessary for one’s job. (For example the janitorial staff and the cabling guy who crawls through the ceiling.) It came about because a customer mentioned that we were very “lax” in our dress. In other words, some engineer or software person was entering the office in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt or something typical like that and it ticked off the customer who has to wear a suit or at least suit-pants and business casual wear every day.
I know that how one dresses makes an incredible impact on how one is percieved. I noticed it most not at the office, where I work with a lot of blue-collar tradesmen as well as business people, but rather at shows where I am selling my own wears. When my partner and I wore matching aprons (we sell cookies and bread), we didn’t get nearly as much business or social interaction as when we switched to jeans and matching polo shirts. Suddenly, the assumption was that we were the bakers and owners as opposed to worker drones. Sales increased and we get a lot more opportunities to talk to people.
It’s all about the culture where you work. The woman who was handling the drivers before me (Back to the day job at the office now) is older and always wears a uniform of polo-shirt and kakhis. She doesn’t do full make-up, but she does do some make-up where I do not. She always has trouble with the guys. Me, I’m younger than some of them and the same age as the others. Even with my wearing more traditional black business pants and dressier shirts, I’ve been accepted as “one of them.” They laugh and joke with me and will actually do what I tell them to do.(Maybe it helps that I’m not afraid of them either. My co-worker could be snapped in half by some of the material handlers, not that they’d ever lay a finger on her, but me? Not so big a problem. One plus to not being average sized.)
When I am going to deal directly with customers, I dress more formally than I do in the office. And two weeks, when I go to corporate HQ for a meeting, I will be dressing IBM professional. That means I’ll be wearing a suit and some form of girl shoes. (Meaning at least a one in heeled loafer.) If I were going to meet with someone even higher level than I am, I’d be wearing a skirt with my suit. As it is, I’m meeting with mostly my level, so I’ll wear pants. I know that you must wear a suit at corporate. It’s a given. They never *had* casual Fridays so their elimination made no.