There are all sorts of programs and ways to “dress for success”. Which is simply a way to express who you are and how you want to be treated. Be it a suit, jeans or something in between, when we care about ourselves and our appearance enough to wear things that make us respect ourselves, then others will do the same.
I was talking with a teenage boy who wanted to get a job at a global coffee chain. He had very long hair and was telling me he did not want to cut his hair. He went on about how he shouldn’t be judged by his appearance, we should accept people no matter how they look or dress, and he had the right to wear his hair any way he wanted. I agreed with him and he was shocked. He couldn’t believe that I was not going to tell him to change his hair. I commented that if he didn’t wanted to change his hair, that was cool. I then suggested he go into that global coffee chain and see how many people behind the counter had hair like his. Notice how the employees already there presented themselves as that is how the store wants people to look. And yes, he could look anyway he wanted. You know what’s coming…next time I saw him he had his hair in a neat, clean ponytail as he was interviewing for jobs.
I had a young woman call me to talk about her first job interview. She was bright and a real solid person, and she wanted to be taken seriously. We talked for a while and then I asked her what she intended to wear to the interview for a retail job, she told me jeans, as that was all she had. I asked what she thought the owner of the business would think if she was the only candidate that did not wear jeans to the interview? She thought for a minute and told me that owner would think she was serious about the job. BINGO! We then went to Goodwill to find her something non-jeans to wear.
Sometimes we need to “see” things in order for them to register. No one wants to be told what to do, how to dress or what they should wear to be themselves. We are individuals and we do have the right to wear anything we want. That choice also applies to those interacting with us, they too can choose or take cues from how we present ourselves in what we wear. In essence we are treated the way our dress tells people to treat us.
I am not saying wear taffeta or a runway gown to the grocery store. We need to feel confident in all we wear no matter where that is. Some days it is easier to do that than others. So next time you get dressed to face the world think about the cues you are sending, the way you want to be treated, and dress accordingly. Our clothes have the power to build respect – our own and from others. In the end, it is how hard we work and what we do that builds our life and lifestyle. Don’t let the way you dress diminish all your hard work. Dress for success, even if that is only so you feel successful in whatever task you may be tackling.