How Your Professional Appearance Affects Your Productivity

Can you overdress

Most workplaces have a dress code.

Some are professional attire. Others are more casual.

Regardless, your appearance will affect your professional presence.

Does the way you dress impact your productivity at work?

Can You Overdress for Success?

I recently presented at a professional conference in front of about 200 managers.

After the conference, several of the attendees approached me and inquired about my position at the company.

They were surprised to learn that I was not the head of the organization.

They frankly said, that due to my professional dress and how I presented, that it appeared I was the leader of the organization.

“The way you dress says a lot about how organized you are, how you present yourself, and how others perceive you.” (Tweet this Quote)

It turns out I had been the only presenter wearing a suit that day.

I found it amusing that due to appearances, it was assumed that I was senior to all of the executives who had been present.

The lesson here is to not underestimate how your dress affects how others perceive you.

How Your Appearance Affects Your Productivity

These days, fewer companies have a professional dress code. (Suit and tie, and similar professional attire for women.)

Upscale dress codes seem to be making a comeback, yet they actually never go out of style.

We all want to be judged on our merits and not a workplace dress code. However, how you present yourself does affect your professional capacity.

It affects how others perceive you. It affects your reputation. Ultimately, it affects your ability to be productive and get things done. (If you doubt this, talk to a professional salesperson.)

Here are several ways that your dress impacts your professional productivity:

  • Professional Appearance – People like to work with/do business with people who look professional. It is in our nature as visually driven beings. It can give ease and a sense of trust. It’s hard to be taken seriously if you look like you just rolled out of bed and are wearing what you wore yesterday.
  • Shows Organization – Dressing professionally signals that you have your stuff together and are organized. If your clothes are clean, pressed, and professional, it shows that you went the extra effort to be prepared.
  • Affects Your Reputation – Simply put, your appearance affects your reputation. While we would like to think that everyone is judged solely on their performance, the truth is that you will be judged on your appearance, as well. You don’t need to wear fancy clothes or have an expensive wardrobe. But, you will want to dress professionally for your job or industry.
  • Confidence Builder – When you feel good about your appearance, you feel good about yourself. Confidence can make a marked difference in how you hold yourself and present yourself in front of others.

Dress Up to Raise Your Professional Productivity

Don’t write off your professional appearance as superficial.

Step up your dress.

It will boost your confidence, appearance, and ultimately your ability to get things done.

It may just be the productivity booster you need to reach the next level professionally.

Question: How does dress affect your professional productivity? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

19 thoughts on “How Your Professional Appearance Affects Your Productivity

  1. It is amazing how the way we dress not only affects our productivity but also our level of relationship with people around us.

    For example, I work out of a home office. If I wear jeans and a sweatshirt, I procrastinate and don’t get much done. However, if I put on dark dress jeans and a professional shirt (again, in my home office without meeting), my level of productivity goes up significantly.

    This goes the same for when I give a “Human SEO” presentation at a conference or am meeting potential clients. If I wear the same dress jeans and professional shirt, it seems I engage people on a very basic level… I don’t attract my target market. But, if I’m in a business suit or even dress slacks, my target market chases me… instead of the other way around.

    It’s amazing how a change in outfits can change so much in the world around us.

  2. Every weekend I spend a fair amount of time ironing my work shirts. It seems like a waste of time on a beautiful, but the fact is, I DO feel more confident in well pressed clothes. Thanks for this post. I feel vindicated.

  3. I love this, because the way we dress , is the way we are.Also if you care about your self, you care about the company.if you don’t care about your self, you don’t care nothing.
    Sofi Gillock

  4. I totally agree! If you keep yourself well-groomed and organized, you will have less internal/emotional clutter to deal with. At least for me that’s the case. When my appearance both professionally and non-professionally is not given ample attention, I tend to be less motivated, less productive and I feel kinda crapy. Your appearance from maintaining your nails and having clean pressed clothes to maintained hair and personal hygiene makes a huge difference in how you feel about yourself. For me, hands and nails are huge. I see too many people (mostly guys) who don’t maintain their nails. They don’t think it matters, but it does. Get yourself a good Seki manicure kit and get those hands looking their best!

  5. Totally agree. If someone is sloppy in their dress and personal grooming and ESPECIALLY if they smell, then I can’t help but think that they are also sloppy in their work habits and attention to detail.

  6. absolutely agree! Not only does dressing for success make you feel professional, you look polished. Great article!

  7. Dress professionally, yup you’ll feel better and be better. After all superficiality reigns especially how people judge you on the exterior instead the morals and ethics that should be on the interior. After all people at Arthur Andersen, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers just to name a feel. Give me someone with blue hair, and a couple of freaking tattoos to do the job with morals, ethics, and competency instead of someone with a 500.00 business suit who will bs numbers to pad their paycheck.

  8. I noticed that my sister hasn’t been wearing clothes properly these days. It appears that she is stressed with her work, and she couldn’t be bothered by wearing more pleasing clothes. But I agree that the way you dress up can help you become even more productive and organized since it shows that you made the extra effort to think about what to wear. With that in mind, I think I might hire someone to do a complete makeover with my sister to help her. Thanks!

  9. Hello there Mr. Jarrow,

    You do raise a few excellent points regarding that while dress attrite may not impact work productivity initially. However, it may do so over time because if others perceive the individual as being professional and always business-savvy.

    So in other words, it would seem that while business attrite does not have a noticeable immediate effect right away on work productivity. But rather over time as others have a more favorable opinion, it can lead to more connections and those more connections can lead to more opportunities and promotions in the workplace.

    Thus, in conclusion, better results will happen in the long-term for business attrite wear.

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