Want That Promotion? Watch What You Wear

Posted on Tue, May 28, 2013

wrong work attireWhat you wear to work may affect your chances for promotion, according to a recent survey by Office Team, an employment agency that specializes in administrative staffing. Eighty percent of executives interviewed admitted that clothing choices affect who they choose to promote. 

More than 1,000 senior managers were asked: “To what extent does someone’s style of dress at work influence his or her chances of being promoted?”

Here’s how the managers responded:

  • Significantly: 8 percent
  • Somewhat: 72 percent
  • Not at all: 20 percent

The survey respondents also offered some outlandish examples of outfits they heard of or directly observed someone wearing to work. Some outfits were actually costumes — and it wasn’t Halloween. Others were just inappropriate for work.

Here are just a few examples:

  • “A dinosaur costume”
  • “Pajamas”
  • “A chicken suit”
  • “A space suit”
  • “Shorts and house slippers”
  • “A wolf mask”
  • “A see-through dress”
  • “A T-shirt, tie and flip flops
  • “Fishnet stockings and stilettos”
  • “Very tight bike shorts”
  • “A vest with a big hole in the back”

From the employee’s perspective, it’s important to remember that going too casual may be going too far.

“Although a polished appearance alone won’t land you a promotion, it can help others envision you in a leadership role,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking.

For employers, remember that you can institute dress code policies that set forth your company’s expectations of work attire. The clearer you are about what you expect your employees to wear to work, the less likely you are to have problems.

If someone shows up to work in their tight bike shorts or a wolf mask, at least you will have a policy in place to handle it.


Author: Gail Cecchettini Whaley

HR Watchdog, HRCalifornia’s Employment Law Blog, © California Chamber of Commerce

Tags: dress code, dress code at work, promotion, employees, HR Allen Consulting Services, Employers, HR Informant