Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Perception. This is a key ingredient to life. I often ask myself how I am being perceived in any given situation that life throws my way. Perception is a big deal in the workplace. Men and Women dress up everyday in their power suits looking to climb the corporate ladder. I hear from them that they often dream of a time where they can just dress casually and work. I believe that society has put soooooo much pressure on how we dress that it can stifle our productivity.
People spend most of their time in the mornings making choices. Does this shirt match this tie? Does this skirt go with this blouse? Should I iron these clothes? Should my dress socks match my outfit? Should I comb my hair to the side? And so on…
TIME is EVERYTHING
I recently read that many of the most influential people of our time wear the same thing (style wise) everyday. Steve Jobs wore the black turtle neck, Mark Zuckerberg and his grey t-shirt (Google: Mark Zuckerberg Outfit). Why do individuals like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing everyday?
Keeping their style consistent frees up time to focus on decisions that actually matter.
The average human spends about 30–45 minutes daily deciding on what to wear to work that day. That is about 3 hours and 45 minutes every week and 195 hours every year. Can you imagine opening up 195 hours every year to make important decisions to further your career or personal goals? In the morning is when I do my best thinking. My brain comes off of a night of sleeping and is charged and ready to go. I create some of my best ideas while getting ready for work and during the commute.
I recently got an assortment of zip-up hoodies in a variety of colors to wear to work. I wear these hoodies over-top of a button up shirt and tie, with dress pants. Really all I have to do is reach into the closet and grab a hoodie and dress shirt with a tie. Not much thought is involved. Recently I was approached by a peer and he said that a hoodie is not appropriate work attire. This made me question my decision to go with this simple decision making outfit. Am I being viewed as too laid back to those who do not understand my decision? Maybe. However, my work will speak for itself.
Wearing a Hoodie Builds my Personal Brand
Just like Jobs and Zucks, wearing similar clothing on a regular basis helps define and build a personal brand. For those of you who don’t know, I work as an arts recruiter for Coker College in South Carolina. When I attend arts conferences in the South East, I wear the same style of clothes throughout the entire conference. During the audition or portfolio review portion of the conference I sit on the front row, engaging and interacting with the students. There are hundreds of other college reps in attendance but I want to make an impact. I sit through hundreds of these auditions and I maintain the same level of engagement and energy with every student who auditions. Afterwards, students have told me that they were glad to have the “bearded guy in the hoodie” there watching the auditions. They even said that I showed them I cared about their performances. They said I made them feel a little less nervous and they hoped that the “bearded guy in the hoodie” would give them a call back.
The Hoodie Helped Brand Me
So, not only do I save time and give myself opportunities to make strong professional choices, the hoodie also helps define my personal brand to make me a recognizable figure to increase my results at work.
For you, it doesn’t have to be a hoodie. It can be a cardigan sweater, polka dots, or any other fashion style, but I would seriously recommend finding a style that fits “YOU.”