My previous job had a rather lax dress code. I showed up every day in jeans and a collared shirt, but I could have just as well been dressed to go to the park. I was kind of done with it towards the end, but I had already set the expectation that this was how I dressed at work. Once you’ve set that expectation, changing is near-impossible. You either very sneakily start upping your standards over the course of weeks, or you do it all at once.
Well, this new job gave me the opportunity to start fresh. Yeah, I could continue with jeans and casual shirts if I wanted to and blend right in, but this was a chance to bring an A game. Now I’m sporting suit pants and a button-down shirt every day, maybe occasionally mixed up with khakis or something similar. And I feel great.
So why do it? First off, I think it immediately sets the tone. By dressing well, I’m sending a message that I’m taking this job seriously to both co-workers and superiors. Second, it means that I’m going to feel and act more confident. This is critical since I’m learning a new product and new processes with the expectation to be ready to go quickly. Finally, it influences my behavior and makes me act the part. By dressing smartly, I feel like I’ll act much more calmly and professionally.
So what do you think? Are you dying for your inner “Sharp-Dressed Man” to pop on out? What keeps you from doing so?