Is business casual still a good idea?

While power players across the country are taking casual to the office, the Wall Street Journal reports that dressing more formally still might be the way to go. If they’re right, and the way we dress affects the way we work, it’s probably worth a closer look.

Business casual is the way to go.

big-name execs are dressing down

The uber smart and successful Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs pulled off the dress-down, sneaker look and they got the job done.

rise of telecommunication

We’re working from home more often and we’re used to being comfortable when we’re cranking out reports.

we’re human

We spend so much time at work at least business casual means we can be a human, making authentic decisions about our appearance, rather than looking like a uniformed robot designed by an old, white guy.

the hierarchy is less obvious

Speaking of old, white guys, dressing more casually makes the power structure less obvious. And that feels good. It may even make people more productive. And creative.

casual clothes means more concrete output

Mike Slepian, adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Business School and author of “The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing,” writes that casual clothing makes workers think less abstractly and more concretely, which is good for focusing on details like writing code.

Here’s a link to the study.

Formal attire is still the better option.

bad interpretation

What if you’re “off” in your interpretation of business casual? Have you seen all the pics of Obama, at the speech podium, showing about three inches too much skin?

Read the article and see the former president’s chest…um, shirt here.

self-expression inconsistent with brand

Should employees meet with clients while “expressing” themselves?

If their self-expression is too far left of center, and it runs contrary to the brand of the company, is there clothing-enforcement consequences? Is there an oversight committee for hem lengths and button levels? (Enter that old, white guy…)

formal clothes means more higher-level thinking

Our Columbia professor also explains that while informal attire helps workers to think concretely, formal dress makes workers feel more powerful, because the clothing is NOT the attire she or he would wear with friends. He writes, “That makes you feel more distant, more removed and [allows you to] think in a higher [level].”

Read more here: Why Dressing for Success Leads to Success (WSJ)


Back to the News Made Simple article here.

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