Attire Closely Linked to Professional Image, According to Workers Surveyed

MENLO PARK, CA -- Those looking for a promotion may first want to look inside their closets, a new survey suggests.  Eighty-one percent of employees polled said a person’s work attire affects his or her professional image; nearly half (46 percent) of respondents said wardrobe significantly impacts how someone is perceived on the job.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 972 men and women 18 years of age or older and employed in professional environments.

Survey respondents were asked, “How much does a person’s work attire affect his or her professional image?”  Their responses: 

Significantly   46%
Somewhat   35%
Not very much   9%
Not at all   9%
Don't know/no answer   1%

“People tend to form immediate impressions of each other,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam.  “Dressing professionally provides instant credibility and signals to clients, customers and colleagues that they’re working with someone who takes the position seriously.”

According to Domeyer, more conservative attire is gaining popularity within many organizations.  “During the economic downturn, professionals began dressing less casually, and this trend continues,” she said.  “But this shift may not be reflected in company policies — employees should heed the ‘unofficial dress code’ by observing what their supervisors and other managers within the company are wearing.”

Domeyer noted that while company guidelines regarding proper business attire vary, the following faux pas should be avoided in most office environments:

  • Wearing your heart on your sleeve.  Political or cause-related T-shirts and buttons are not appropriate for the office.  Even if your dress code is casual, steer clear of items that could potentially offend someone.
  • Pop-star panache.  Not every job requires a business suit, but in very few situations are midriff-baring shirts, low-rise pants and similar attire acceptable.  Employees should strive to look professional at all times.
  • The grunge look.  Wrinkled or torn clothing never leaves a good impression.  Make sure your shoes are polished, jacket is pressed and appearance is neat.
  • Heavy metal.  Avoid excessive or ornate jewelry and other accessories.  Simple items work best in the office. 
  • Overpowering fragrance.  Scent should be subtle.  Many people are sensitive to perfumes and colognes, so err on the conservative side.

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.

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