Dress Correctly For Any Business Situation

You work at home. Down the stairs you float to your kitchen and startup the coffee maker. You turn on your computer because it takes 5 mins to boot up (Windows hmph). In with the toast and maybe a bowl of cereal and you sit down and start digging into emails.

It’s easy to be informal and to dress comfortably. Maybe most days you are not in front of a client or prospect. Other days it’s just your employee or a contractor or a vendor.  There is no policy constraining you from following a dress code. So you go with what works. But how you dress makes a big impact on all the people who see and interact with you.  You don’t always need to wear a button shirt, tie and jacket. That may be detrimental to what you need. It’s the thought process of who you see, how you see yourself and how you want to be perceived that matters.

You fit in that norm? Sometimes it’s just a matter of quality. I have been to conferences where 20% of people wear blue jeans with golf shirts and 75% wear dockers with golf shirts or open button dress shirt. 5% wear dress slacks and button shirt with tie or a suit. I’ll often wear docker-like wool pants with an open button shirt. It keeps me at the same dress level but with a subtle improvement in quality and fit. I’ll always bring a tie and jacket so I can adapt my level as needed and I’ll bring a backup docker/golf shirt combo as well.

To me the strongest part of this is your own thought process that puts you in the position that you want. Providing confidence or an armor and helping to shore you up for the events to come. This is also true as you go into the office and meet with an employee. Keeping things too informal can undermine your authority and make it difficult to have people do what you believe needs doing. Too formal and you may close off your relationships and not get the good feedback you need.

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