And while it’s important to have a degree of dress code flexibility, it’s crucial to keep a professional appearance at all times – especially if you want to move up the corporate ladder.
What you wear in the workplace really does matter
Of the 200 HR directors we questioned in a recent survey, more than three quarters (76%) said that an employee’s style of dress at work influences their chances of promotion
In larger organisations, the HR team gives formal guidance on dress code, while in smaller companies colleagues point each other in the right direction. It’s a good idea to ask if there is a casual style on Fridays – it’s embarrassing to turn up suited and booted when everyone else is in jeans and trainers.
Faux pas are rife – especially in the south
Despite organisations maintaining flexible policies, more than four in 10 (44%) HR directors still think that employees wear inappropriate or unusual clothing to work ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ often. Interestingly, employees in London and the south east are more likely to commit this error with their attire, according to 62% of respondents.
Views on the importance of workplace dress varies by region, with nearly nine out of 10 (89%) HR directors in the south west and Wales stating that what an employee wears influences their chances of promotion. This figure falls to 73% for the north and Scotland, followed by the Midlands (72%) and London and the south east (71%).
Top tips for workplace appearance
Make sure your clothes are clean and in good repair. What would you think if you met someone with a stained tie, crumpled shirt or ripped tights?
Play it safe. If in doubt, choose the more conservative option.
Dress for your audience. If you are meeting a client whose office has a more relaxed dress code, change yours to suit.
Have a jacket to hand. Even casual or lighter wear can quickly be made more professional by adding a jacket.
- Model yourself on a colleague. There must be someone in the office who always looks smart and dresses appropriately.Ask yourself – would he or she wear those shoes or that particular shirt?That will normally give you the guidance you need.