Does Anyone Still Dress Up for Work?

office-dress-casual

The days of power suits and nude hose may be over, but do people still dress up for work? A recent study may offer some clues.

In surveying more than 350 American workers aged 18 or older, along with more than 300 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees, staffing firm OfficeTeam found that casual dress codes are more common than not. In fact, half of the senior managers interviewed said employees wear less formal clothing than they did just five years ago. On top of that, nearly one third (31%) of office workers said they’d prefer to work at a company with a business casual dress code while 27% favor a casual dress code or no dress code at all.

But not every manager approves of this trend. When asked for examples of common dress code violations, they expressed disdain for employees who show too much skin (32%), have visible tattoos or piercings (6%), sport extreme hair colors or hairstyles (3%), or fail to groom their facial hair (5%).

Dress for Success 

Despite casual dress codes becoming more the norm, John T. Molloy’s ’70s-era concept of “power-dressing,” or suiting up for the job you want instead of the job you have, still has some truth to it.

In a recent study conducted at Yale and covered by The Wall Street Journal, researchers found that wearing, say, a suit, can send a signal of success and confidence, both to the formal dresser and whoever he’s dealing with. In contrast, dressing casually can cause a person to “sweat the small stuff,” The Journal reported, as well as become stressed and therefore less forceful.

Whether you choose to dress formally or adhere to a business-casual dress code, you shouldn’t feel pressed to break the bank in order to look the part. Racking up debt to invest in a dressier wardrobe may feel worthwhile in the short term, but over time such behavior could damage your credit, leading employers to question your ability to manage money.

Of course, not all employers conduct credit checks, but when they do, they typically look for patterns of money mismanagement and unresolved debt, such as student loans. This is why it’s a good idea to know where your credit stands. You can check your free credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.

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Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund

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