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a different perspective on human capital

The Working Wardrobe



From Casual Friday, to Business Casual to Casual Everyday it can be hard to know what to wear to work these days. With so many offices leaving the dress code up to the employee fashion-lovers can rejoice with the opportunity to add some pizzazz to any old Monday! However, many experts have questioned whether or not a lack of professional attire leads to a more relaxed attitude toward the job.

Judah Kurtz, Human Resources expert based out of Chicago, sums up the situation: “Dress codes have most certainly relaxed over time, particularly since the introduction of ‘jeans Fridays’ and dot-com era casual attire. What is considered appropriate varies by company and culture, as well as what parts of the house are strictly internal versus client/public facing.”

The benefits of relaxing the dress code and giving employees more freedom are plenty. It allows employees to have a more unique sense of identity instead of getting swallowed up by the corporate culture. This might allow them to be more confident, express themselves more in other areas and feel more relaxed and grounded throughout the day.  Studies have shown that when we look good on the outside we feel better inside so why try to inhibit that?

It is different for every company and every industry but here are a few general tips to keep in mind while planning your office wardrobe:

  • Understand what is appropriate in your industry: A casual dress code in a financial institution might be entirely different than a tech start-up. Always keep your industry in mind when you decide to experiment!
  • Dry your hair: Never show up to the office with wet hair! This might seem arbitrary but Nicole Williams, career expert at LinkedIn, warns “it makes you look like you don’t have your life together, which translates to not having your career together.”
  • Accessories matter! Pay attention to your purse and briefcase. If your personal things are spilling out of it and it isn’t clean, it will present an overall unprofessional image.
  • Abstain from clothing with obnoxious logos: You don’t need to use your wardrobe to advertise anything you might like in your personal life. Leave that in your personal life.
  • Use your best judgment: Always err on the side of caution! If there is something you aren’t sure of, save it for a night out with your friends instead of “Casual Friday.”
  • Never let your outfit outshine your work: Remember, you are there to work; not to show off your fashion sense. Your wardrobe should always be secondary to the job!

Here at Treehouse Partners, we have a very relaxed dress code and have found that being comfortable allows us to work that much harder! What is the dress-code like at your office and how does it affect the work environment?