FEATURED | Business

At the Office, Dress for the Job You Hope to Get

We have Steve Jobs to thank for the fact that office dress, even at the highest levels (which he came to define) has slowly deteriorated from casual Fridays to jeans and sloppy T-shirts in the lower ranks. And I guess that’s okay, certainly more than okay as the business world gravitates more and more to remote work.

And yet there remains, at some level, an approving or disapproving eye and that may not be sufficiently recognized from the lower rungs of most corporate ladders. I’m telling you it exists. Ignore me at your peril.

Although those who judge you may dress as they please, opinions exist

Not unlike society outside the office environment, business continues to pay attention to nuance, and the smartly dressed businessman (or woman) still rates an approving eye. So, unless you’re a mechanic or heavy equipment operator, pay attention. The next job you would like to have is likely to come vacant in this age of mobility and, when it does, decisions will be made by those who might not know you well.

That decision will usually depend upon two factors: the recommendation of your immediate boss and the nuance of small details. Casting an eye across the possibilities, a decision may depend upon who makes (and holds) eye contact and looks the part of the candidate in his or her mind’s eye.

That’s nuance, the undefinable something that makes you the logical choice. Don’t make the mistake of wearing a jacket and tie in an informal office environment but keep an eye on whoever holds the job you’d like to have and dress accordingly. Well pressed slacks, shined shoes and a smart shirt are never over the top. Steady eye-contact doesn’t hurt either.

Good luck.