I’ve written before about dressing and looking your best to succeed in the workplace and life, and I still believe this one hundred percent. However, I overheard an interesting discussion that illustrated the desire for casual dress and how people seem happier when they don’t have to “dress up.”
First, I’ll give you a little background. It has been United Way fundraising time at my job for the past week or so, and one of the most popular fundraisers is Friday Jeans Day. It is organized something like this: If you pay $5, you receive a sticker that allows you to wear jeans on a designated Friday.
This touched off a discussion about paying to wear jeans, and how some are willing to pay for the whole year. The group mentioned they would be willing to pay, say, one dollar a day for the whole year to wear jeans. Of course, I had a personal finance knee jerk reaction and I piped up to say that was a lot of money to spend just to wear jeans. Granted, the United Way would probably get a lot of money, but I can think of other things to do with that kind of cash. Five dollars one day is a lot different to me than $365 dollars, even over a year.
So, the question I asked myself is, why are so many others willing to part with a substantial amount of money just to dress casually and can it benefit both employee and employer? I believe it can.
The mere fact of dressing down seems to lighten everyone’s mood. Maybe it’s a comfort thing or feeling less oppressed, but any way you look at it, the happier the employee the more productive that employee will be.
The option of casual dress can save an employee money as well. With business dress and even corporate casual, a person must usually maintain two separate wardrobes. This can lead to spending more than one wants too and can cause resentment.
It can also lead to wearing clothes out beyond their “freshness date.” Everyone feels better in new clothes and if you only have to buy the type of clothes you wear outside of work for work, your mood may improve.
One of the major downsides of a business going casual is the employee that takes the word casual to the extreme. A competitor to my employer went casual and there were sightings of Halter-tops and short-shorts, which had to be placed in the revised dress code policy as a no go. It’s because of these few bad apples that many businesses prefer business casual as a happy medium and won’t make the jump to casual.
To me, I say dress for success. This doesn’t mean full suit and tie all of the time, but take pride in yourself and the way you look. You can dress nicely whether your workplace dress code is business or casual. It will reflect favorably on both you and your employer.