Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. While boxy suits and shoulder pads may no longer be the norm, smelly gym clothes and dirty sweatpants are definitely still a no-no at work. When it comes to office attire, what you wear still matters, but so does personal style and comfort. We surveyed 2,000 Americans to see what people think about fashion in the workplace. Here’s what they had to say.
What and how you wear your clothes are among the first thing people notice about you. Luckily, people who describe their look as “preppy”, “elegant”, or “trendy” feel they can dressing up or down their personal look and apply it to their work wardrobe. People who describe their look as “Bohemian” or “sporty” feel less likely to have a work attire that represents them. Those who feel their sartorial choices are split in two should consider careers in marketing, IT, or manufacturing, which claim to have the most freedom in their work attire.
Great minds think alike…and may also dress alike. In fact, 30% of respondents claim to be influenced by another coworker’s style. Careers in broadcasting, legal, or real estate are most likely to experience “twinning” with another coworker because of prescribed industry dress codes.
Speaking of dress codes, 70% of workers claim to have a dress code for their job. Additionally, 77% agreed that dressing to impress helps bolster a career image, but only 27% admitted to making such deliberate wardrobe choices. Since many employees walk the line between projecting a desired office perception and wearing whatever they want, nearly half (44%) of employees don’t participate in casual Fridays.
On the other side, 34% claim to wish they could dress up more at work—feeling that their dress code is too casual. Since 20% of respondents said they will outright avoid the “sloppy-looking” coworker, it’s just as important to know what is appropriate for the office, even when the dress code is casual.
That being said, the reality is that some work environments need flexible options. According to the survey, Millennials are more likely to turn down a job offer due to a company’s dress code, which proves that minds are changing about what is workwear. 66% of respondents may have found a good compromise, which is to change into more comfortable clothes once at work. Educators and health care workers are the most likely to have a costume change, which makes sense because they are on their feet all day and sometimes require specific clothing to do their job well. 47% of respondents say they keep a sweater nearby, thanks to the notorious office debates over temperature.
For many, “dress for success” means weighing personal style and comfort against company policy. Being able to showcase your personal style while getting your work done is an important balance in work and in life.