Dressing for the job

Can your style of dress affect your chances of promotion at work? Some people claim that this could be true. If you dress to impress, and dress for the job you aim to get, you might find you have put yourself in the frame when the time comes when a position is being vacated. In fact, some suggest that you even dress like the person who you could be potentially replacing!

Of course this may be something for which the converse may be true. If there is a job opening within your organisation, and the person vacating the position is not well-liked, wear a style that is different and offers a new perspective. Or else you will never get the position because the person in mind is someone who is different, and you will remind the interview board too much of the status quo!

Will the trend for outfit rental extend beyond special occasions and into the commonplace? This is the question to which many are trying to answer, and where opportunists may sense there is a business area ripe for commercial exploitation. And just who exactly will form the majority of the target market? It is believed that the aspirational and ambitious thirty-somethings will make up the largest share of the market, while those in the previous and later decades will form a smaller but equally significant minority. But why is that age group more susceptible to be tapped?

Sociologists believe that those that make up that age bracket in the workforce will be looking to move up before it is too late. Most people in their twenties will spend time choosing the job that gives them the career they are after, and hence they will be job hopping. As their choice of career stabilises, towards the end of their late twenties and early twenties, they will be thinking less horizontally -in other words, thinking less about different careers – and thinking more vertically; about ascending within their career. They will be coveting the higher managerial positions, the ones with the greater responsibilities and salaries, so that they are well positioned within the organisation before they reach the crucial forties.

The forties are crucial for a couple of reasons. One is that it is normally expected that people in managerial positions will be at that age, when they have accumulated some work experience and life experience. Those in their forties are the ones bossing about and lording it over the newly graduated and those starting out.

An organisation is not going to put a young member into a managing role because they are career trialling and it would not work to invest all that time in someone and train them and have them leave. And if they don’t leave, training and promoting them too soon will mean that as they progress within the organisation they are going to command higher salaries. So the first importance of the forties is that it is the age where managing positions become more open and available. And those in their thirties are going to be jostling for these opportunities, doing what it takes to get them; these includes dressing for the intended job to get noticed.

So some career advice as you approach the forties is to dress for the job you want. Look to attain a managing position. You might want to consider renting outfits if the job requires you look smart. Look at football manager Antonio Conte when he was in charge of slick Chelsea – always with his suits on. If you are football manager of a blue-collar club, then maybe a tracksuit isn’t that out of place either. The classical music composer Joseph Haydn was often derided for his clothes as a young boy, yet when he worked in the courts of Esterhazy, from his mid-thirties, his style of dress would remain impressive for the decades he spent in the managing position of music maestro. (You can learn more about Haydn from the Piano Teacher N10 website. Find out why his tomb has two skulls!)