TIP 5: Dress Nicely for Work, Only if Your Boss Will Be There.

They’re lucky you’re even wearing shoes today.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned Hiding From Behind a Door

“What I wear is how I express myself. Don’t go trying to suppress my self-expression! I don’t happen to go along with your television-magazine-Hollywood-image of what I should look like. Yeah, as a matter of fact, that coffee stain is a part of who I am. And so what if I didn’t have time to wash my hair this morning. It doesn’t matter how I look, as long as I’m here doing my job!”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“In the first 5 to 7 seconds of meeting someone, you will judge whether you like that person or not. Nobody has to say a word before the judging begins. These judgments are based on factors like appearance, facial expression, eye contact, demeanor, and energy level. The problem is that it’s hard to change that first impression. For example, if you were boarding an airplane and noticed the pilot was wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops, what would you think? Wouldn’t you feel a little uneasy about his competence? If you see sloppy attire or an unfriendly face, you may wonder, ‘He looks quite unprofessional. Not sure I’d trust his competence OR his company.’

This kind of judgment also applies to a messy desk, three-year-old magazines in the waiting area, slippery ice on the front steps, or a rest room that needs cleaning. It’s all a part of the whole image.

Since first impressions are lasting, you should be very careful. Your customers expect a professional image, and you should present that to them — no matter how you feel about it! Plus, you will feel more professional when you dress the part.”

A Real World Example

Have you ever been treated differently because of what you were wearing? One brisk Tuesday afternoon in October, I decided to go clothes shopping at Macy’s – right down the street from my house. I was wearing old jeans, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes. I’m one of those rare women who do NOT enjoy clothes shopping. I get easily overwhelmed with the choices and struggle to determine what looks good on me. I began looking for a sales person to help me. I couldn’t find anyone. Every sales person I approached quickly walked the other way. It was really weird.  I felt unworthy and a bit depressed, so I left empty handed.  The next day, I went back to the store. This time, I wore a business suit. It was shocking how differently I was treated. This time, the salespeople pushed one another out of the way to help me. They would find clothes for me, bring them to the dressing room and were incredibly friendly and helpful. What a completely different experience and all I did was change my clothes.

Moral to the story: If you want better treatment — in clothing stores or anywhere else —, wear a business suit, even if you have to borrow one.

Strategies to Turn This Around

Dress and act as if you’re branding yourself and your organization — you are your own brand!

  1. Practice good hygiene – duh!
  2. Wear attire appropriate for your position. When in doubt, always dress up rather than down.
  3. Make sure your reception desk, restroom, and waiting area are neat, tidy and safe.
  4. Carry yourself well and sit up straight – it will make your momma proud!


Remember: When you dress like a professional, you act and feel like a professional.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

— Unknown

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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