Dressing Professionally, New Economy Style

Through a recent conversation with a friend, we determined that too many people in business today DO NOT dress professionally.  In this new economy, we both agreed that you need to do something to set yourself apart from the competition.For anyone that is wondering, my references to the new economy refers to the continuing shift in our country from a industrial or manufacturing based economy to more of a service sector economy.  A large part of this shift, especially in recent years, includes online and social media,  including Twitter, Facebook, etc.Back to my original point of setting yourself apart or dressing professionally.  I have never been one to dress to impress; I believe it is better to dress to respect.  By dressing to respect, you are taking the first steps in developing credibility with your potential client.  You are respecting their position, authority and the their importance in the relationship that you are forming.Dressing professionally does not mean that if you are say, a web developer, or social media expert that you need to wear a suit and tie to a meeting, but it should mean that you will dress to respect your potential client and to make a good impression.  As we know, we are the sum of all of our parts; including blog postings, websites, social media outlets, the work that we do, and the first impressions that we make.  Chances are you will need to be flexible and alter your outfits based upon the audience.  Any salesperson worth their salt has carried more than one suit or outfit in their car so that they can change when necessary based upon the audience.Do I want my auto mechanic in a suit and tie? No, but I also do not want to work with a so called professional, that I am going to entrust with money to market my business, online or offline, in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt!Dressing professionally in the new economy is the same as marketing your business: determine the target audience and respond, or dress, appropriately.  A professional suit for women and a shirt and tie or suit for men will never go out of style and in some places, they are very much back in style.What is your style saying about you?

Comments

  1. Dave Hamilton says:

    Exactly. This is part of the very point we are making with our new blog, on the subject of dressing with confidence and looking like a leader (thenewconfidence.squarespace.com). Of course, not every need dress to impress and not every day either. But picking your battles and stepping up your game in this economy is just plain prudent.

  2. John, excellent point. Something I seriously need to think about. I don’t always dress in a "business" sense because the majority of my clients are small business owners dressed in jeans & t-shirts or the auto mechanic dressed in a uniform. It is easy to become accustomed to dressing in a certain way and forget that you may be judged when you least expect it. Better to come out on the positive side than on the negative! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

  3. Nannette Saunders says:

    I am from the old school so it maybe that you are preaching to the choir in my case. But everyone needs a reminder every now and then. I think you have a valid point though in that many younger generations are more casual about this particular habit than I would be comfortable with. I happen to enjoy dressing up but I keep my jeans & tees out of business, they are for a more casual setting.

  4. Cheryl Smith says:

    Nanette brings up an interesting topic re: "old school." There are certainly some generational differences at play (like the NU Lacrosse team members who wore flip flops to the white house). I’ve always heard, for employees, to dress like the boss, or the position you want to hold rather than the one you’re in.For consultants or other work from home types, who meet with customers, dressing professionally is always in style. Of course, "professional" is quite subjective. I suppose you can’t really go wrong with a business suit, though it may not be necessary in certain environments.

  5. Brenda Moore says:

    I think in every situation we must first understand the circumstances. There’s no way I am showing land in heels and a suit or dress. I have been around folks who always wear blue jeans and shirts and I try to dress accordingly when I am with them. If a clients dresses up, I tend to do the same.I think the bottom line is, you need to know your clients.

  6. Dave Hamilton says:

    Exactly. This is part of the very point we are making with our new blog, on the subject of dressing with confidence and looking like a leader (thenewconfidence.squarespace.com). Of course, not every need dress to impress and not every day either. But picking your battles and stepping up your game in this economy is just plain prudent.

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