I talk a lot about dressing for respect, and how clothing affects what others think of you; so I thought I might write a list of things you should do to help you gain respect in the workplace. As usual, this article is a mix between heavily researched facts, and my opinion; and as always, I encourage you to share your thoughts on the subject.
1. Dress like your boss, not the person sitting next to you. The reasoning behind this one is that if you look like the man in charge, then people will treat you like you are. I can tell you from experience that this is absolutely true. This is similar to saying ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’. The idea behind this is that if you dress like something, you will start to feel like it, and when you feel better, you are more confident, and that is something people respect.
2. Wear something that separates you from everyone else. If everyone else in your office wears black trousers, wear navy. If everyone else wears black shoes, wear brown (depending on your trouser colour). If no one else in the office wears a jacket, wear a blazer to work.
3. Keep your clothes neat and tidy. You aren’t properly dressed until your shirt is ironed, your suit is pressed, and your shoes are shined. Also remember that casual doesn’t mean sloppy, and that casual shirts and trousers should still be clean and pressed.
4. Just because you can wear something, doesn’t mean you should. A lot of offices don’t have a dress policy as such; but just because they are going to let you get away with wearing crocs to work, doesn’t mean you should (don’t ever wear crocs). You should always strive to maintain a professional, respectful appearance.
5. Pay attention to the little details. It’s the little things that make up life; and when you pay attention to the small details, you vastly improve your overall appearance. People may not consciously notice your cufflinks, or your tie bar, or the pocket square,or the dimple in your tie; but they give off the subtle impression that you pay attention to the details, and those that do notice them will think all the more of you for it.
6. Be Respectful. The surest way to gain the respect of your peers is to show that you respect them; and that you respect yourself. Show your coworkers that you respect them (and yourself), not just with your actions, but by putting some thought into your personal appearance; remember that you are representing the entire business, not just yourself.
Above all else, remember: