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  • Writer's pictureKathy Sazama

Are we too casual?

Are we getting too casual in our work attire? Research states we are. An article by Robert Half at reports that 4% dress very formal. 21% somewhat formal, 61% somewhat casual, and 13% very casual. 

he topic of how teachers dress was discussed by author Harry Wong in his book “The First Day of School”.

Another recent research article done by PayScale called Style vs. Salary reports that those folks in the category of Business formal made the higher incomes. 

It is interesting the  attention  that is being made on how people dress in their industries. Is it because we know that in seconds those first impressions of a person are being judged? Is their concern that the manner in which people dress gives a message they don’t care? Not caring about self does it also indicate not caring for the customer? I find it interesting that the formal attire folks make more money but our attire is becoming more casual. So how does this work?

When I research information on 1st impressions there is a lot of information on dressing corporate\professional but very little on what’s business casual . We do know that every industry has some input into dress code. Different careers require different presentations. Some industries are made easy for people as they have a “uniform” therefore they do not have to think about their clothing choices. What about those industries that leave the dress code up to your “own judgement ” or “within reason”?  That can leave choices wide open. Unfortunately situations like that can result in one or two people dressing poorly and it sets a tone for a whole business. 

My experience has been that people don’t really know appropriate business dress. They allow themselves to be influenced by the media, friends, and family. That can be interesting! In the professional world it is much more difficult for women than men. For example, men have traditionally worn suits which is their “uniform”. Women on the other hand have many choices  and dressing becomes challenging. Ladies you get judged far more than men. 

I’m in the business of solutions. I have a few tips for this subject.

1.) Determine what color is best on you. I believe that the foundation to image is color. If you have ever had anyone say to you “are you feeling ok?”, and you feel fine. It’s possible that the color your wearing may cause you to look tired or haggard. Learn what colors flatter you.

2.) Style is unique to each of you. Discover your style as it will give you confidence and a great feeling of knowing you look amazing. It is nice to know how and what to wear for occasions.

3.) It is always better to dress a step up vs. a step down. 

4.) If  you own a business or work for a company wear what reflects your brand. Brands portray  value systems, color, and a message of who you are and want others to see in you.

5.) As a business owner I suggest you take responsibility for defining appropriate dress for your company. Many entrepreneurs will utilize a business coach. It’s worth the investment for an image consultant.

1st impressions can be lasting impressions. It’s worth your time and investment.

Yours in Style

Kathy Sazama

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