Q&A: Do You Still “Dress for Success”?
Up until a few years ago, I wore a suit all the time. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Yeah, I did that in a three-piece suit. It was my trademark, and I viewed it as a sign of success and professionalism.
Then something changed.
My wife became pregnant, and I fell into the trap that befalls many men in my situation. I gained weight.
So, I stopped wearing the suit. Then my kids came along. Although the suit soon fit my body again, it didn’t seem to fit with my new life as a father. Jeans and a tee-shirt became my new uniform, for work and for play.
Does it rub some people the wrong way? Probably. Do I care? Not really. Dressing in a way that better represents the person I am helps me to attract the type of people I actually want to work with, the people who are more laid back, creative, and collaborate well with others.
The idea of “dressing for success” is very much dependent on what profession you pursue. If you’re a lawyer or a banker, you don’t have a choice on how to dress. Tailored suits in dark colors will be your new best friends. If you’re in a more creative field, a more artistic or dressy casual outfit shows that you’re good at what you do.
Overall, however, more and more employers are relaxing their dress codes, and a suit isn’t the only option for professional dress anymore. In some workplaces, dressing up too much can make you stick out like a sore thumb.
So for me, and others like me, dressing for success isn’t as important as it used to be, and that’s okay. I’d rather be judged on my ideas and my work ethic than on the pattern of my tie.