Each day I commute via train. Each day I might see up to a couple of hundred different people coming and going at various stations, and that’s just on the train. Then there are the thousands that pass by in the station and on the road.
When I get to the Maritz building, I interact with up to 400+ people on a daily basis, although the core interactions are probably around 30. These are some of the smartest people I know, doing amazing things daily. Creative directors, marketers, finance folks, HR people and more.
Yet if you were to judge these people on appearance, you might think that they’re “normal”.
You might be surprised to know that they’re creating innovative solutions and off-the-wall creative ideas for some of the biggest companies in the marketplace today. Why? Because of an out-of-date mantra that says you have to dress a certain way for business.
I read a newspaper article the other day by a high-end tailor, who was saying you need this suit and these shoes and that hat if you want to create the “right expression”. But he wasn’t defining a certain industry or profession – he was saying all business people should be in suit and tie, otherwise you don’t get taken seriously.
This is a mistake.
Clothes don’t make the man or woman anymore. It never should have to start with. The idea that a suit and tie is the de rigueur dress code for business is as outdated as 486 processors are for computers. The guys I work with? Jeans, trainers, tee shirts, casual shirts – pretty much anything but a suit and tie. Yet they’re responsible for multi-million dollar business deals and ideas.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing to wear a suit and tie or a really smart skirt and jacket mix – some people feel more comfortable in this outfit just as some prefer casual. But the key word here is choosing – give people the choice as opposed to making it for them and you’ll get a more effective employee/colleague.
I pretty much guarantee it.