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Does how you dress at work matter?

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does how you dress at work matter

As a jobseeker, naturally you want to portray the very best version of yourself when attending interviews, and once landing the job in the workplace.

However, does this extend to the clothes you wear? Does how you dress at work matter or is that a redundant notion in the modern day job-market? We debate the issue…

Yes it matters what you wear

Alexander works at an insurance call centre which employs 250 staff. Like all the staff at the call centre, his work is telephone based and non-customer facing. Despite this, he says that smart-dressing promotes a tidy work ethic.

“Dressing smartly for work gives off a certain persona, one that implies professionalism and excellence. Being in an environment where everybody is dressed in business wear reminds you that you are part of a team, at work for a specific purpose and are united in that common goal which is to maximise profitability for the company through providing excellent customer service. As you are all collaborating, I think it absolutely makes sense to unite on being smart in appearance.”

Alexander strongly feels that when he was interviewed for his current position, his attire made an instant and positive impact.

“I wore a plain suit with a white shirt and tie, my girlfriend commented at the time that I looked like a candidate on The Apprentice! It made me feel confident and put me in the right frame of mind to give a good performance at the interview. I noticed that the other candidates weren’t dressed as smartly, and it made me feel like I had an edge. When I stepped into the interview room I noticed the managers flicking their eyes over my outfit, and before I’d even opened my mouth to say anything the impression that I’d made was a good one.”

“I can’t say definitively that dressing smartly won me the job, but I certainly think it helped and that anybody going for an interview should give themselves the very best chance by dressing as smartly as possible, it’s what most employers expect as a minimum these days.”

No it doesn’t matter what you wear

Robyn is a web designer for a large firm in Finland. She meets with clients on a regular basis to discuss projects but believes the way employees dress should not be important.

“In my role I meet with clients but I don’t expect them to take any notice of what I’m wearing. What they should be, and invariably are interested in is my capability as a designer. I do my best work when I am at ease and relaxed. Wearing whatever feels comfortable is the best way to assure that.”

Robyn also believes that removing pressure from people to dress a certain way allows for a more relaxed working environment. “In my workplace, and I’m sure in many others too, the focus should be dealing with tasks.

“There is plenty else to think and worry about than the clothes you are wearing. As an employee you should be concerned with performing to the best of your ability, and in my role I need the ability to think freely and be creative. Although we work together as a team, we need to concentrate on making our individual contribution to the company. Impressing other people with what you wear is totally irrelevant in the workplace, that should be saved for your social life.”

Robyn thinks back to the interview she attended to land the role. “I wore skinny blue jeans, Converse trainers and a black jumper. Having researched the company there was no mention of business attire and when I arrived everybody else was dressed in a casual way, there were all sorts of different styles going on. It didn’t make me think any less of the company, in fact it made me think they were a very cool organisation! Obviously I got the job, but am absolutely certain that what I was wearing didn’t even come in to it.”

She acknowledges that other companies may take a different stance to this topic but doesn’t think it’s necessary. “I understand the logic behind a desire for employers to have all their employees dressed smartly (particularly in professional services), but ultimately it really doesn’t matter. People shouldn’t judge your abilities as a professional based on what you wear, to my mind it’s similar to judging someone for their lifestyle choices, so long as they turn up and do a great job, who cares?”

Names have been changed in this article

In our infographic we show you which interview outfit is best for which industry.

What do you think? Does it matter what you wear at work or should your hard work speak for itself? Share your thoughts on this debate and let us know in the comments box below

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(All comments have to be approved before they appear)

  1. Mohammed Muflahi Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Technically, it shouldn’t matter what you wear to work but the stereotype of dressing a certain way has made people believe that how good you look, determines your abilities and skills. You wouldn’t expect a politician to debate in the House of Lords wearing jeans, trainers and a cap, that’s stupid. Depending on the job you do, does matter what you wear, so long as a decent dress code is acceptable and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a suit and tie in all office jobs, so long as you do your job properly.

  2. Martin Smalley Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Men must wear ties but women can dress less formally. This is discrimination.

    • Chris R - London England Saturday, 15 Feb, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Martin, I have to admit there are a lot of double standards when it comes to office protocol.

      I agreee that in terms of dress code, there are double standards in the White Collar sector; particularly at the younger end of the age range. If a young man goes to an interview with an open neck shirt, and trousers, then that is not considerded good; equally a girl can turn up in virtually anything she likes, whether it be skirt& blouse, with a jumper, or a pair of what we would call casual trousers. Equally many girls seem to think it is ok to go in to the office wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Something which would not be acceptable in most office environments.

      Equally, you should dress for the conditions and nature of work. I would not turn up on a building site with a pin-stripe suit and Tie with black shoes. I would be expected to (and Health and Safety Law requires Steel Toe Cap shoes and hard hat with Hi Viz. jacket); and certainly I would not expect a girl to turn up on site in a skirt,blouse and jumper, even with similar protective clothing as a man, Steels’ Hard hat and Hi. Viz. Both forms of dress code are in appropriate to a job; and many bulding site managers have a notice on all entries to the site: “No hat, No Boots- no job”, and rightly so.

      That said in terms of office dress, women, particularly young girls, do seem to get away with a lot more than men would. Going back to the appropriate dress code, if you are asking two technical support staff, for example in the computing business, where you can be crawling around floors then I would not expect either sex to turn up in business dress.

      You dress to the conduct code of the business; some demand business dress from both men and women; equally less formal operations, notably the magazines publishing sector, where T-shirt and decent quality jeans is deemed to be acceptable, unless of course you are meeting a client.

      So horses for courses but please, no double standards.

  3. ben Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    No it doesn’t matter a fig anywhere. Unfortunatly baisless superstition and stupid unfounded thougth processes are the hardest to overcome

  4. Russell chesters Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Yes it should always matter! God knows why there is a debate about it. Mentally this affects what you do, it’s also a sign of respect to the client or the job that you are doing, you always have to look and definitely feel professional 100% of the time.

    • Meloney Williams Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      I was thinking the same. Why is this even up for debate? However, I have noticed over the years less and less people even dress smart for interviews. I would be interested to see if these people got the job, dressed the way that they did. Because that would be the biggest measure for the validation of the work based dress code. But yes it does depends on the job. I personally like to look good and presentable. It brings a sense of pride with oneself. It comes with maturity wanting to look smart for work. The way that people dress does represent the person. If we like it or not.

  5. Christine Johnstone Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Prior to the interview it is advisable to check the company web page or call ahead and ask if there is a dress code. Clean body clean clothes is a must. It would be terrible to be rejected over personal hygiene but this can be an issue. The focus needs to be your abilities but first impressions are influential

  6. Zak Holland Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    If you make an effort for the interview then it shows dedication. Would you employ a tramp? Even if this tramp was a hard worker, would you want his messy appearance as the face of your company? Didn’t think so.

  7. Ian Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I`ve encountered 2 issues here.
    1) Was when I managed in a call centre where ‘business wear’ was the rule. One lad turned up in T Shirt and Jeans, and refused to get changed as he claimed these were ‘designer wear’ and ‘cost more than your (my) suit’.
    2) We had one girl who no matter what she wore, never looked tidy due to various issues. Whenever we had visitors we used to arrange her breaks so that she wasn’t visible, when she realised it was very awkward to explain to her.
    However, towards the end of my career, I found that it was becoming more common that people at meetings wore suits but no ties (probably why Tie Rack went bust). I always wore a tie, as it was easier to mirror the others at a meeting and take a tie off during a meeting, than to try and put one on.

  8. Mark Norris Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve never understood how wearing uncomfortable, stuffy clothes improves performance. How does wearing a strip of cloth around your neck make you work better? Or is a tie really a symbolic chain around your neck? I know I would work better in something more comfortable than a long-sleeved, buttoned, stiff collared shirt. I’m not saying we should all wear scruffy jeans and T-shirts with logos in the office, but what’s wrong with a nice plain short-sleeved shirt and smart jeans, and comfortable workers?

  9. George Nicola Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I would ‘sit on the fence’ on this as I would argue that it is important to dress appropriately. By this, I mean that it would be silly to shorts and t-shirt into an office environment but at the same time it would be silly to wear a suit and tie to a building site.

    Cannot see anything wrong in wearing smart clothes to any situation. I have dealt with many clients who have commented on how they would not have dealt with me if I and been formally dressed and that they felt much more comfortable with me be less formal.

    I would sometimes be asked to deal with other advisers clients and the adviser would comment on my ‘casual attire’. When we actually got to meet their clients, the clients would comment on my less formal attire and also comment on being more relaxed.

  10. Kev Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Dressing smart for an interview is important as first impressions are important and a decision about you can be made in a few seconds of seeing you, also dressing smart can have the effect of putting you in the right frame of mind for an interview, if you ware the same cloths at home as you do at work then there is no distinction between the two, dressing smart for work can put you in a business frame of mind.

  11. Cheryl Elsom Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I think the hype about image is not just centred on dress code solely, but also on personal grooming. I have attended interviews and have felt myself being ‘examined’ all over top to toe,from my hairstyle, to the way I’ve applied my makeup, to my dress attire & even the perfume I’m wearing has been remarked upon.
    In my opinion this kind of perusal deflects from the real world of employment. Employment means working. Working means capabilities & abilities on performance.
    The majority of us follow personal grooming habits, but it feels intimidating to be ‘examined’ or ‘scrutinised’ on these habits.
    Do interviewees judge the interviewer/s on their personal appearance; I’ve never known anyone to do so. From my experience I would most likely decline an acceptance of an offer of employment from the turn out of some interviewers I’ve met.
    I agree with Robyn, dress code should not be as important as performance capabilities. I find I’m more at ease when I dress down.

  12. JAYNE CLARKSON Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I dress smart casual for work jeans and top and come into contact with allsorts of professionals as my role of support worker, I can also find myself on my hands and knees cleaning or doing some other thing so no I don’t think there is a need to dress smartly if there is no need for it

  13. Kevin Robson Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    It is “Horses for courses” and in certain instances such as job interviews and client meetings, dress does most definitely matter, especially to individuals of a certain age.

    At an interview, to dress in a smart way indicates respect towards the person you are meeting and a degree of thought about the situation you are going into. If the interviewer is of a certain age i.e. 45 plus then they will expect candidates to dress for the occasion regardless of the role they are applying for. Do not turn up wearing jeans and a tee shirt etc., as it sends out the wrong message.

    Once you have nailed the job, look to see what others are wearing especially if you have to go face to face with clients and prospective customers as once again you are trying to craete a good impression. If you are a “Techie” that sits in the back room/lab/workshop and doesn’t interact with people it is less important to dress for effect unless you feel the need to do so on a personal level.

    I agree with Alexander and Mohammed in that for certain people, dressing smartly in shirt and tie etc puts you in the correct frame of mind to perform at a higher level. It does in my case, but it is not for everyone.

    I also agree with Robyn and Ben however that it shouldn’t matter because the skills and knowledge available should be enough. Unfortunately it does matter and if I turn up for a meeting with a supplier and the managers arrive looking casual it indicates that they do not have any inkling of my expectations, standards etc. As such I would be less likely to award a contract to them if I had to choose between them and a competitor who did come suited and booted unless the offer was significantly better.

    If you are supplying into a market place you have to understand and adapt to client perceptions and expectations even if you do not agree with them.

    Similarly your boss has expectations and standards that they hold dear. I advise that you find out what these are and the corporate mentality and work within it because the only one to suffer if you fight it will be you.

    The above is based upon over 40years working at all levels from apprentice to MD and every position in between. Cheers.

  14. Charmaine Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t think how you dress affects your ability or inability to work. However, I do think that it can affect your colleague’s ability to work. If a female colleague is wearing short skirts or skimpy tops it can be distracting for the rest of the team. I do think a dress code should take the calibre of clients into account. If you are dealing with customer who want to buy your product then you could get away with a more casual dress code. But if, like I was recently, you’re working with ex-convicts with a variety of crimes such as sexual or assault then I feel very strongly that the short skirts and skimpy tops should be left at home and the outfits kept very professional

  15. phil Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I hate ties, i own two, for interviews and for customer facing. I dress up to meet clients and for interviews, but the rest of the time i find I’m hampered by wearing good clothes.

    I come from a manufacturing background and trained myself into IT programming. I can still wind up routing network cables,striping pc’s, or like my last job assembling a test printer from parts and the board i’d programmed ( Dirty jobs ), where office clothes damage too easily. ( I prefer black work trousers with tool pockets even when working at a desk ).

    I did have one manager tell me that not wearing my best suit to work every day made me work less efficiently. I had to ask him whether he thought that factory workers didn’t do their best because they didn’t have a suit and tie on. ( That particular manager had been thrown off the programming team for being useless and promoted out the way ).

    I have been mugged and a tie is not a good think to have on and i worked at lewis’s and when the edict came down that every employee had to wear a tie i saw one lift engineers tie get caught in a door motor ( the lift was stuck and it was common to try to free the doors with the motor on. ) Thankfully it was a clip on but it wreaked the motor and put that lift permanently out of commission. Lewis’s closed a few months later.

    Good clothes had no benefit and may have made the mood worse.

    I don’t think dressing smart works for everyone, i’m creative and imaginative, but in environments where everything has to look professional i seem to lose the ability to think.

    i also get cold being 11 stone and having 6 titanium pins in me, a burn scar that don’t show but has poor circulation and crushed fingers, my hands will go orangy purple and hurt, then go white and not function at all ( and i have several scars when I’ve cut them in that state and not noticed ). i have in office situation had to put on a coat to stop shivering with the air conditioning cranked up because the larger guys are sweating. gloves help and i bought some fingerless ones so i could still type. I’ve had managers complain about that, then complain when my lips are blue and I’m shivering so bad i can’t work. Not every person is physically the same, I’ve seem women come to work when it’s cold in jumpers, yet men in the same place had to wear shirt and tie ( with three layers of thermals underneath ).

  16. Paulo Soares Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I’m looking for an employer who wants me to work.
    What I need to do in order to get the eese employer?

  17. Mike Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    In response to “no, it doesn’t matter a fig”, If I were buying a mortgage or some other financial service and, of the two people pitching for my business, one was dressed smartly in a suit and the other in jeans, t-shirt and trainers, guess which one would carry more credibility with me! Of course it matters. At an interview you are effectively selling yourself and, in today’s ultra-competitive market, you need to give yourself every advantage you can. Two candidates with identical skills, qualifications and experience, one makes the effort to dress smartly and the other could be bothered to – which one would you give the job to?

    • Chris Parrett Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      I’m the opposite of Mike. I am instantly wary of someone who appears to be ‘dressing to impress’…I don’t trust them, they look like the worst kind of estate agents or marketing shysters. I wonder why they are hiding behind a suit and tie, and what practical inadequacies the clothing is making up for. In an equal situation, I will always give the casting vote to the person who isn’t trying to hide his, or her, identity.
      A friend of mine got a job, over better qualified and ‘dressed’ candidates, because he’d had to come straight from work in his lunch break – there were staff shortages and he’d had to go in to work in the workshop himself – his greasy overalls and still stained nails showed the new boss that he might actually know about the work he’d be managing over. (A business dealing in very expensive race preparation) unlike the ‘suited theoreticians’ (the new boss’s description) that had also applied. The interview confirmed the fact. (After missing his lunch, he returned to his work to finish assembling a car for the Monte Carlo rally.)

  18. Fay Belham Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Personally I would rather be comfortable and do a good job however office politics still focus on the external. If you look the part then you are more likely to be promoted whether you are qualified for the job or not. Seeing is believing.

  19. David Jones Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    In response to those people who say “Of course it matters, how could there be any argument about this?”

    Why do you feel you have the right to tell other people how to dress. I work in the mountains. If I go to the bank and see someone in a three piece suit, am I supposed to think he has any idea what my life is about?

  20. Cheryl Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I think you should have a good understanding of the company you are applying to and check up front what the dress code is so you can be comfortable. Team fit is a key factor considered in recruitment and a visual element of that is what you wear. So yes I feel it matters what you wear it should be appropriate for the job and the ethics of the organisation you apply to.

  21. Juliet Lisa Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I would like to believe that it entirely depends on the job you do as evidence in the two examples above. A mechanic can dress which ever way they wish too but a teacher has to look the part. More so, appearance normally shows professionalism and readiness to make better of a job. In conclusion, it depends on the job.

    • Karen Johnston Wednesday, 19 Feb, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I agree, Juliet Lisa. In the legal profession lawyers and staff tend to be dressed quite conservatively, so black or navy clothing. This rather sombre look promotes a professional attitude as I think most of us would feel a bit uncomfortable with a lawyer who was dressed in jeans and trainers. Also, I think it’s essential to check a company’s website or call it before an interview to check about dress code as no one likes to feel overdressed or underdressed.

      Someone’s appearance is judged in seconds and whether or not that candidate will “fit in” with the company.

  22. al Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Of course dress matters . You wouldn’t go to do a mechanics job in a suite and tie . It would be dangerous for a start . You wouldn’t go to work in an hospital in overalls . Sensible dress for the environment you work in is a must .

    The problem is there’s very little work out there , although we are lied to about that . Example , I receive 55 jobs and more some days, in my chosen field of expertise . Only 3 are relevant in my area to me . There are millions of people out of work . Because of my age I don’t stand a chance . It would be nice to dress for work .

  23. Jane Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I think you should dress smart and professional for work as this look makes you act like a professional. There is nothing worse than going for an interview and being met by a person who is dressed up wearing a tutu. The person has no respect for the client more concerned about how she looked.
    How can you take these people serious ?. You should always dress for the top position as first impression’s are important.

  24. Kuntana Mwenza Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Some employers like wolves in sheep clothing. The employer has been taught to have expectations of his or her employee, simply by looking at them. Some employees dress to please the employer, giving the impression that all is well at home. Unemployed people dress according to their circumstance, which is normally based upon affordability. They make attempts to look good, before things become good. So some employer would view them as being ok for work, never showing concerns about how their life really is. The fact that the suite they wear is from the charity shop, and the only one they have at home, all other garments would be viewed as rags.

    Suite and tie when applying for certain jobs could draw the opinion that you are above the job on offer. Hence one of the deep reasons you did not receive it.

    So I would conclude, until the day the colour or style of a persons dress, is of no more significance, to the colour of his skin, until such time there will be conflict in opinions. Things are deep, we would spend time debating the colour and design of a mans clothe, when the clux of the matter is that it goes deeper than clothes.

    I say let people dress how they feel comfortable in the enviroment which they live, and as circumstances change they then dress in accordance, but to think you can fool the employer to believe you are better than you are using clothes is really you fooling yourself. Then the employer gives you a wage, which does not enable you to so called improve your image in and out of work, and in some cases you find yourself in a worse position than when you were on benefits. What was the point of getting the job. The employer thinks you look ok for work, and works you to death, never knowing or in some cases not wanting to know, about your real world, working for what concludes to nothing. More looking good, but not good.

    Wolves in Sheep clothing

  25. Lucy Kelvin Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I think if you pay attention to what people are wearing rather than how well they perform, you have your priorities seriously wrong.

    I’ve interviewed staff myself and couldn’t tell you what they wore. I was more focussed on what they were saying, on trying to find out what their skills were. One time I had an engineer working in a small comms room (basically a large cupboard), and it was clear the man was in a lot of discomfort due to the heat. He asked if he could take off his tie as he was sweating rather a lot. I said “do what ever you want to be comfortable”. He thanked me profusely, telling me about another site he had to visit where the local contact had complained about him not wearing a tie – despite the person being of rather scruffy appearance themselves. I told him I cared more about his being able to concentrate on the job, rather than what he looked like!

    On the other hand I recently went for interview wearing black leather shoes, black pinstripe trousers and a black pullover, it being cold and snowy that day, instead of a jacket. The recruitment consultant had actually made a point of telling me that I was expected to appear in full business dress, which I felt I had done. I had actually checked the business’s dress policy beforehand – it said ‘Casual’ on their website. The people interviewing me were certainly not in full business dress – one I would actually describe as being in a dress suitable for a cocktail bar…

    I was told afterwards that I was not dressed well enough!

    I said to the recruitment consultant that I really didn’t notice anyone on the premises who was dressed formally at all. She agreed that she often saw individuals wearing jogging bottoms at their desks!

    So what is the point of insisting that a person appear in a business suit, if you don’t enforce a smart dress policy? What does it tell you about that person?

    I would say the point of suits is to efface individuality, to appear bland and homogenised. Non-threatening, perhaps? Personally, I prefer diversity – it takes lots of different qualities and attributes from people to make good teams. I’d rather see people flourish in their personal expression than suppress it.

    Ultimately, I think you have to be very small-minded and rigid in your thinking to find such things a distraction, or of any importance…

  26. Kim Radley Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I was taught that “defensive” dressing is safest at an interview, i.e. no bright colours, no pale grey suits, and NO facial hair. The mentor that told me this said he knew of no prejudices against clean shaven men. I thought it was a bit odd until I overheard somebody on the morning commute say “That’s the last time I employ someone in a dogtooth suit.” After that, I didn’t need to be told twice.

  27. Jacky Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I have worked in a solicitors in London and had to be smart dressed. I have also had to wear uniform when I worked as a hca. I’m currently now looking for a job that I actually want. And the job interview went well. Mainly because I felt comfortable. I wore black jeans and white jumper. So to sum this up, wear what you want! It’s you that will be doing the job, not your clothes

  28. Kitty from Hednesford Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I can see both points of view about the type of dress for work. At the local college though some of the tutors & office staff dress scruffy so it is hard to tell them from the students!!! So it makes it harder to seek out the correct person if you require advice.
    I found that when I was dressed smartly for work people & shopkeepers if I popped into a shop treated me with more respect than when I was dressed in jeans etc.
    I wonder what type of debate would we have if we were talking about tattoos!!! As this is the same type of thing – just because you have tattoos it does not stop you being good at your job. People should not be judgemental!!!

  29. mark Taylor Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I have succeeded in interviews in the past based on my experience and my abilities, not on what I was wearing.
    In my opinion if I dressed in my casual gear and another candidate dressed in a formal suit went for the same job and they got the job over me simply because of what they dressed in, even though I had the experience and abilities over them, then I look at it as its the companies loss not mine….

    • A Monday, 17 Feb, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      I agree Mark. Interviewers should want to make the best decision and employ the right person that can make a great contribution to the business. Do you think that interviewees should be asked to turn up in clothes that express their personality to further aide the interviewer?? Maybe. Unfortunately rather than get the most from the interviewee for the business a lot of the from interviewers here focus on themselves and their perceived ideas about weather or not they can control a person that has for example not worn a tie and weather or not they may be being disrespected. One complains that he was faced with a person in a tutu ? I assume young lady (clothes fashions often reflect age)in a fluffy skirt. So what. INTERVIEW HER she may have heaps of potential, can add value to the business and can be informed of the dress code expected ie dark suit and blouse, whatever.Then there are the interviewers that distrust those in suit and tie that have dressed up for the interview ? Or the employers that rather than explain the dress code to an employee got her out of the way whenever there were clients in the office. REALLY. It is their loss if they cannot run their companies any better than this.
      In the main I think interviewees go smart or smart casual depending on the job. Remember that an interview is a two way process both you and the employer will be spending say 40 hours a week together.Good luck to both interviewers and interviewees.

  30. linda fowler Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    It helps with the way you dress but it should not make any difference your knowledge of what you know should be more importent the way you dress is not going to do the work it your hands and brain that does the work

  31. Toni Darby Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I agree one should dress smartly for interviews and for work. One thing I do not agree with is however is ties. I think this is unfair that men are forced to wear collar and tie. Men can look smart in polo shirts as well as a smart shirt without a TIE (worse invention ever). As others have said it may not prove your working ability but one would not want a smelly, untidy person working in an organisation.

  32. Andy Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Would you only adhere to process and procedure when dealing with every single situation no matter what the work?
    We are encouraged in modern industries to ‘think outside the box’ and ‘go the extra mile’ instead of conforming to tradition.
    Now apply this thinking to textiles and accessories we wear. Why a suit or tie or jacket? Traditional thinking?
    Conformity stifles true excellence.
    I’m not saying that you should look dirty or unwashed. Some of the greatest innovators and entrepreneurs dont abide with traditional thinking on how they dress.
    It’s simply a ‘king with no clothes’ position that if you wear thousand pound/dollar suits and have the most expensive watches and accessories that you are ‘better’. Even with more knowledge, its how you apply yourself to better others that really matters.

  33. Gerarde Fairclough Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    If you dress smartly at work you will be treated with more respect. If you dress down and make little effort you will be treated with less respect. It is shallow, but that’s the way the world is. The added bonus of dressing smartly is the feel good factor. Look sharp and you’ll feel sharp. Always pay attention to the shoes, especially at interviews – they should be polished to the point that you could use them as makeshift side view mirrors.

  34. PJ. St Helens Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    While attending an interview, I would agree, a suit is best, as it shows you have taken the time to bother.
    However in a non customer facing role, such as a call centre, what you wear should not matter. I used to wear jeans and a tee shirt with trainers, as I felt more comfortable, and functioned a lot better.
    We had a dress up day once and I did not feel right, thus did not function to my best ability, the stats showed I did not hit my usual targets.
    However, in a customer facing role, shirt and trousers would be more in keeping, even if you did not function best, it is expected. If you went to a solicitor (female) who had a VERY low top on and a VERY short skirt would you listen and remember what she said or what she wore? Then again would your wife allow you to still be sitting there anyway.:-)

  35. lisa Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    i think it depends on the job and position you are applying for. for your interview, it is important that you know the company’s dress code in order to make a positive impression. when you are working, then it depends on the nature of the job and the company’s dress policy.

  36. Mbanbo Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Yes it does matter.

    Can you imagine a COMMERCIAL airline pilot dressed ‘casual’ or in a tee shirt and jeans? Likewise the cabin attendants? Likewise a cruise ship (or liner) captain/officer?

    I think hotel reception/ist dressed casual at the reception is also not acceptable, as people who work in retail on the shop floor.

    IMHO a smart uniform (dress standard) presents a company and its values. If it I haphazard in dress standards, it most likely thinks of their clientele/customers the same!

  37. Ben French Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Einstein never had a haircut! Builders would muck up a suit! Such nievity – How can you have decent clothes if you require a job!

    • Ian Nicholson Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Ben French made a couple of good observations quoting Einstein and builders . Basically where is the line drawn ? I am at present unemployed and cannot afford to purchase a new wardrobe , but why should I ? Some people who are TELLNG me how to get a job are less caring about their personal appearance than a down and out . Not only that but they are often late for work or off sick . Probably a case of Tennis Elbow while trying to iron a shirt . My qualifications outweigh some of the idiots in the seats of power but I’m not relevant because of lack of wardrobe.

  38. Clive Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    What a number of people commenting have missed the point on is that it is not what THEY think, but what OTHERS THINK OF THEM that is important. Whether or not smart clothes SHOULD or SHOULD NOT matter, they DO MATTER to a lot of people judging you. Do you want to be judged as bad at your job simply because you refuse to adhere to a dress code? It may be wrong that people do that, but if they do it, you can’t stop them, so you have to play the game.

    In the City of London, some people will not give you a job if you turn up for interview in slip-on shoes instead of lace-ups, however smart or designer they might be. Whether that is right or wrong, it is true, so if you want the job, you had better comply!

    I do think that dressing up for an office job does make you feel more “serious” about your work. I have always had “work clothes” and “home clothes” and don’t mix them. That helps me feel in “work mode” when I am at work, and to switch off and relax when I’m at home – I change my clothes when I get home from work.

    However, as many people have said, there are different norms in different jobs, and you should dress accordingly for the job you are in.

    Someone once told me that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you are doing. By that they meant that if you want your bosses job, you should dress like your boss. It makes them feel you are “like them” and thus worthy of promotion to their level. (Obviously don’t wear identical clothes – that’s just creepy)!

  39. Jenny Bates Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    It matters to most people. especially if you’re working ‘front of house’. A smart appearance matters to the people you come into contact with.

  40. Trev Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Of course it matters. It shows respect for the interviewer and the job you’re applying for

  41. Jacqui Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I think it depends on the person. If dressing casually means you are in non work mode no. I have worked from home casually dressed, however when I spoke to clients I still had a professional approach. If however I was going to meet a client I would dress in a suit.


    • Ajay Thursday, 20 Feb, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      I agree with this…

  42. Lisa Landy Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Those who say suits are a must are those kind of people who like to dress that way themselves. They need to look professional and feel good about themselves and the smart facade helps them do this. Plus, if they were the only ones in work with us “scruffies”, then theyd know wed be taking the p*** out of them.
    Personally, ive chaired directors meetings with BT directors present to receive grief off me for not hitting service level agreements wearing jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt. ok, we were outfitting a server room that day, hence my attire. But no one in that meeting battered an eyelid as i went in there and owned it, like i do with every client or supplier meeting i attend.
    Maybe its just my personality that shows people i am professional, knowledgeable and sincere no matter what im wearing.
    Maybe those “suits” have something to hide or need the suit to gain professional values.
    Hmmmm, something to think about…

  43. Andy R Friday, 14 Feb, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    It’s about the correct clothes for the job. Car mechanic = boiler suit, estate agent = suit, astronaut = EVA suit, despatch rider = leathers, engineers = jeans and white coat, doctor = whatever, stethescope and white coat, etc.

    Employers are now very aware that insisting on some nonsense dress code in the workplace that can significantly contribute to injury to employees can now land them in court with a lawsuit.

    The standard industry accepted attire for an electronics engineer is jean, shirt and jumper. Ties with tie pins used to be sometimes insisted on but modern health and safety now forbids them (thank God).

    Hot solder will melt straight through polyester clothing and there is always that potential to become a human torch should the clothing manage to ignite, denim jeans and overalls don’t ignite so easily.

    And then there is the static issue with expensive and delicate CMOS components….

    I’m affraid that although there are some stupid people think that suits would look good for highly skilled engineers who are working hard and the real force behind a company’s profits, unfortunately health and safety plus common sense says that jeans, shirt and jumper (and maybe a cool bofin type white coat) are derigor these days in manufacturing industries.

    There are times and places for wearing suits, ties, etc. and most of them don’t include certain working envioronments.

  44. Andy Saturday, 15 Feb, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Interviews are dead….and so really is the “job market ” AND economy,,all due to the greedy, money inspired thing called an “EMPLOYMENT AGENCY”…

    They take all your details over the phone,,never call you back,or say “THEY” think you live to far away…

    They dont know you,dont care how good you are at your job,or even what you look like…
    And going for an interview with an agency before you get to meet your employer is a bloody joke…

    I work in construction,,I dont own a suit and tie, and I wouldn’t wear one unless it’s a wedding or funeral,,does this mean I can’t do the job I have applied for…

    Of course not……stop being blind and narrow minded, put all your stigmas and narrow mindedness to one side and give people the chance to prove themselves…

    Remember SOPHIE LANCASTER…is this what happens if you dont wear a suit and conform to what people say is the “norm”

  45. Juanita Aniello Saturday, 15 Feb, 2014 at 10:04 am

    First impressions always count and no matter whether you are highly skilled or qualified for the position that you are applying for, you will always be judged on appearance first.You have to remember that any prospective employer has already seen your CV so is acquainted with your academic qualifications and experience. They are therefore assessing you on your character,how you conduct yourself, how you fit in with their organisation and part of that process is appearance.
    A smart business type appearance shows the prospective employer that you want the job and have taken the trouble to prepare may also make you feel more confident. It also projects a certain image, clean tidy business image, business like manner, ability to operate effectively and shows the prospective employer they wouldn’t have concerns if you had to meet clients. In addition, in the workplace, effective dressing in an open plan office impresses visiting clients. It shows them the kind of operation the owner runs and can immediately affect them in the decision as to whether they would want to do business with them.
    Should that business have a casual day, that could easily be established during the course of an interview.

  46. Fiona Martin Saturday, 15 Feb, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I have worked in telephone based customer service for over 15 years and have worked at 2 companies where the dress code is “smart casual”. One of the companies is a high profile designer brand – The White Company, and the other is an e commerce photo gift company – Photobox. Basically, everyone wore what they wanted within reason unless it was offensive. I noticed it seemed acceptable that the employees in certain departments, such as design, wore more “creative” type clothes, whereas people in the IT departments and “techie” sorts, whether male or female, seemed to have no clue about what even went together. The COE at Photobox wore yellow trousers with striped pink shirts etc. What I did find odd though was that if anyone was going for an interview for an internal job, it was expected that they wore the full monty shirt, tie, suit for men and traditional black and white shirts and skirts/trousers for women even though the person interviewing then knew how they normally dressed and would go back to it when they had the job. However, the interviewers did not change their clothing style to conduct interviews though and I can recall a time a few years ago when the customer service manager at The White Company conduced interviews, both internal and external, wearing cut down combat shorts and was barefoot!I now work in a company where it’s business dress from Monday to Thursday and casual from Friday to Sunday!!So what does this all mean.

  47. Faisal Shahbaz Saturday, 15 Feb, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Well, it depends on the work place you are working in to choose your dressing. The primary concentration should be on the task you are given to complete and not the dress outfit itself.
    Ofcourse while working in an office you should must be dressed appropriately according to your position. It does not mean to become a schyco of dressing and spending hours for choosing the outfits before coming to office.
    Then if you work on a construction site at a higher level, your dressing should be according to that place and ofcourse according to work conditions as per sorrounding atmosphere.

  48. Sharon Dixon Saturday, 15 Feb, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Most interviewers do tend to judge an interviewee on their dress, even if they (the interviewer) are not aware of it. I personally feel more confident if I am dressed smartly when I am being interviewed for a job. But I need to feel comfortable- both mentally and physically- too. The same can apply when I am at work- in an office setting, for instance- but it very much depends on the job. It would be ridiculous to attend a cleaning job in a smart suit, pointless in a warehouse environment. In a job that involves dealing with people, particularly in an advisory capacity- it isn’t always so simple. Some clients will have more faith in you if you are dressed smartly, while others may feel slightly intimidated. Again it depends on the job. When I shop,(though I might be put off by an obviously dirty member of staff) I really don’t mind what the shop assistant, or the person on the till is wearing- its friendly and helpful service that is important. Not every shopper will agree of course, but I imagine most would.

  49. James Sunday, 16 Feb, 2014 at 8:55 am

    You only have one chance to make a first impression. It wouldn’t matter if it was a manual or office job. You have to show yourself at your best at interview. Once at work the dress code is a whole different matter and may be altered because of company policy or driven by health and safety. It does make an impact and rarely do people comment on someone being overdressed but they will always comment on being under-dressed for the occasion. The individuals that don’t understand this are generally immature and not the sort of people you would want to employ/do business with. They dress it up by saying they wouldn’t want the job which is obviously why they went to the trouble of submitting a CV. Its like calling a women a lesbian when she is not interested in you!! The initial impression is they are not taking the situation seriously; try wearing jeans or a hoodie to a court appearance or a funeral and see what impression you make. An interview is no different and as the interviewer I would not waste my time with you and move to the next candidate.

  50. Teresa Sunday, 16 Feb, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I believe it does matter what you wear in certain circumstances – when you design a kitchen fir some one the client does take notice of your style and asks advice about colour schemes etc. if I dressed inappropriately I doubt if I would get the business

  51. Stephanie Evans Monday, 17 Feb, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    THe key here is ‘it shouldn’t make a differene’. No it shouldn’t – your skills and ability to dot he job shoudl be the most imporatnt but life is not like that. In reality books are judged by their cover initially until you get underneath and find out a bit more so in the interview scenario I woudl suggest that you think about what the first impression will be – do you look the part – not only as an interview candidate but as a potential employee of that company. Find out about the company and then think about what is going to create the best impression when you walk into the room for the first time. That does not mean the standard suit and white shirt on every occasion – dress to suit the industry, the look and feel of the organisation and so that you feel happy and comfortable with what you have on or it will adversely affect your performance in the interview.
    Look like you made an effort, have put some though into it and not just dragged the first thing to hand on, as you got our of bed!

  52. C H Monday, 17 Feb, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    My wife is a professional who works for the NHS.
    They introduced pyjama style uniforms. She prefers the more formal style but the NHS seems to be moving away from formal wear in this respect.

  53. Jacqui Tuesday, 18 Feb, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I have always dressed a little “Off Key” in my working life, for the last 30 years I have been a Senior Credit Control Manager for two separate companies both within the Construction Industry and although I pride myself in looking clean, well groomed and presentable my work wear has ALWAYS aired on the Goth / Boho style. I believe that we are all individuals who deal with given work tasks in our own way as we all have different personalities. Having said this surely what we wear is an extension of our personality and if we feel completely confident with our appearance then that confidence is conveyed through the standard of our performance in the work place.

  54. Ajay Thursday, 20 Feb, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I believe reasonable care should be given to what you ware at work but shirt and tie is old fashion and does not reflect your ability.
    You should look tidy without question.
    Think of it this way.. You would not go on a night out looking a mess so why would you go to the office looking like a mess.
    First impression are with the eyes.

  55. Bob Grommit Thursday, 20 Feb, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I hate ties. Why should office working males have to wear something tied around their necks. I find ties uncomfortable and TOTALLY UNNECESSARY. At a previous job it bugged me that women could wear what the hell they liked and I had to wear a shirt and tie. The minute I got home from work the tie was off.

  56. Samar Hamdan Sunday, 2 Mar, 2014 at 8:17 am

    From my side, I think it doesn’t matter because when we have to stay 8 hours and more in the office we would be comfortable, the appearance should be descent even now these days Jeans is acceptable in many companies. Myself I can’t feel comfortable and work easily if I am wearing loose cloths than suit.

  57. Razan Sunday, 9 Mar, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I beleive it’s very important what u wear at work , whatever the job is

  58. Valentin Saturday, 24 Oct, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Yes, it DOES matter, wherever people lack the simple ability/curiosity/interest, but most of all intelligence of trying to figure out what’s under the cover. It is so much easier to just swallow already chewed and digested opinions about absolutely everything, not just dress codes, than to make the effort of using one’s own brain and be a real INDIVIDUAL. After all, leaders never did and never will need persons (like in ‘personality’) but herds. So long live Its Majesty Hypocrisy!

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