We’re all familiar with the concept of "casual Friday." In fact, on most Fridays here at the Chamber, we’re allowed to wear jeans if we donate a few dollars to our designated charity of the month. But here’s an intriguing post from Ragan’s PR Daily revealing that workers may be less apt to dress down for fear of seeming unprofessional. Obviously, it depends upon one’s industry and employer, but here’s some news that may disappoint the people at Guess (tight-rolled Guess jeans are still cool for guys to wear, right? Just asking because they go really well with my I.O.U. sweatshirts):
Lately, however, when I look around the train on a Friday morning, the commuters no longer appear to be dressing down; in the age of the economic downturn and increased job insecurity it seems that “casual Fridays” are becoming a thing of the past.
This is due not to businesses’ formally restricting the uniform of employees, but rather to employees’ making the decision themselves that dressing more casually on a Friday—or any given day—might affect their performance and job security.
A survey by U.K. work wear provider Alexandra found that 94 percent of respondents say that the way they dress can influence the outcome of the economy.
More than 90 percent of respondents said a person’s attire determines how professional and trustworthy they look. Nearly 40 percent said “scruffy clothing” at work hurts performance.
The results demonstrate that employees prefer to wear the same sort of clothing on a Friday as they would any other day of the workweek because they think it will help them win more business and increase sales. In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Anne Hathaway’s character isn’t taken seriously until she conforms to the image of a budding fashionista. Alexandra’s study suggests that image isn’t limited to the fashion industry and can be very important for other sectors, such as professional services.
Dress For Success shows exactly how important image is to securing a job. This global organization provides disadvantaged women with a suit prior to an interview to help boost their confidence and give them the tools to thrive in work and life.
Disadvantaged women are referred to Dress For Success by a diverse group of not-for-profit and government agencies, and in 2011 up to 3,000 organizations sent women for the professional apparel and career development services that it offered.
Once a woman has secured the job, she is invited back for additional clothing, which she can use to build a professional wardrobe. It shows the importance of our apparel on our employment status and on our performance once we’ve landed a job.