Can how you dress earn you a pay rise?
How to boost your earning potential by dressing for the job you want, not the one you have.Peter Iantorno November 26, 2014
"Dress for the job you want, not the one you have."
We've all heard the phrase - usually said by a high-and-mighty boss lecturing his scruffy-looking employees first thing in a morning - but what does it actually mean, and can it help us progress at work?
Of course, you shouldn't take it literally, otherwise we'd all be walking around in - take your pick from the following: an exact replica of the CEO's suit; a full football kit; astronaut's helmet; or Hugh Hefner dressing gown. But the message behind the statement - dress to impress - is certainly valid and can help you stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
Some people would argue that in today's world of internet millionaires showing up to work in t-shirts and hoodies, what you wear doesn't matter any more. In fact, we even told you recently that some of the world's most powerful people always dress the same, so why are we now saying that what you wear does in fact matter? If a grey t-shirt is good enough for Mark Zuckerberg, it's good enough for all of us, right?
Wrong. The main difference between Mark Zuckerberg and everyone else in the world is that he came up with an entrepreneurial idea so good that he never had a boss to worry about. However, for us regular men, we still need to impress people in order to work our way to the top. So unless you're sitting on an idea that's going to become the next Facebook, we suggest you sit up and pay attention to this essential advice on what to wear at the office.
1. Don't change too much too soon
If you've been showing up to work in jeans and a t-shirt ever since your first day, to suddenly arrive in a three-piece tailored suit would have people questioning your motives. Instead, take things slowly - perhaps add a smart jacket or invest in a good pair of Oxfords - then build your style over time.
2. Keep it simple
There's a fine line between bold and flashy, and it's one you should tread extremely carefully. While a little pop of colour on your tie or pocket square adds a nice touch to a formal suit, that garish bright printed shirt you got as a birthday present a couple of years ago has no place in the office. 3. Care for your clothes
Don't allow your look to be let down by something as simple as a poorly ironed shirt or scuffed shoes. Always read the care instructions on your clothing and abide by them to keep your outfit looking sharp. And polish those Oxfords the night before.
4. Make sure your clothes fit well
The importance of well-fitting clothes can't be overstated. If your suit doesn't fit well, you'll be so concerned with trying to make sure your trouser leg isn't riding up too high or your cuffs are still showing at the end of your jacket sleeves that your work will suffer. There's no substitute for a good tailor.
5. Focus on the details
Once you've got the right suit, elevate it by adding all the little touches that make a good work outfit a great one. We're talking about pocket squares, cufflinks, tie bar, watch, belt... all these touches show you take pride in your appearance and pay attention to detail.
6. Take care of the whole package
Irrespective of how well-fitted your suit is, how shiny your shoes are or how perfectly your pocket square is folded, messy hair or grizzly day-old stubble will still make you look a state. That means hair must be well-kempt; if you're clean-shaven, shave every morning; and if you're sporting a beard, keep it well washed and groomed.