One of my old bosses once said to me "If you dress smart, you will think smart". For someone like me, who wears ripped jeans, vans and normally a Guns n Roses t-shirt this didn't sit too well with me... I went on to get fired from that job, but what he said stuck with me.
For me, I dress smart at weddings and funerals, that's it. But I get why lawyers/accountants wear suits. It's a power thing and they need to look powerful.
Me though...I'm currently wearing jeans and t-shirt. I have the world on my shoulders at the moment and stress levels are high, BUT I feel comfortable and can achieve what I need to do.
If I was dressed in a suit, i would be uncomfortable, pressure through the roof to achieve - as I'm obviously dressed like a man on a mission! Would that be productive? Would that be "thinking smart". I would end up spending the whole day feeling stressed and probably not achieve anything.
So does what you wear to work actually come down to your own comfort?
I'm just going throw out some names
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Steve Jobs
- Richard Branson
None of the people above wore/wear a suit to work and let's be honest, they could wear a bin bag to work and still WIN at whatever the day throws at them.
My favourite Richard Branson story is the time when he went to get a reservation at a restaurant/bar and was turned away for not wearing a tie...a year later he went and bought the restaurant/bar and banned anyone from wearing a tie.
Richard Branson hasn't worn a tie this day and recently said "“Wearing ties is one of the most pointless traditions of the Western world"
What you wear is relevant to what you do and how those clothes make you feel.
But i still think, whatever makes you work better, wear it. Even if it is a pair of speedos.
Mike Slepian from Columbia Business School reckons he has the answer (and probably more reliable then mine)....
Mike Slepian, adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Business School and author of “The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing,” explains how this difference occurs. Casual clothing makes workers think less abstractly and more concretely — useful for completing tasks focusing on details such as writing code or planning a product launch.