With the constant changes in where and how we work, interact with each other and dress at the workplace, you might wonder, “Does professional image still play an important role in the workplace in 2022?”
It might seem professional image isn’t as relevant because of the flexibility in our daily wear now that companies are more relaxed in dress codes. “Casual wear” or “comfortable wear” has been so normalized that according to a recent survey done by Simply Hired, fewer than half of American workplaces have an office dress code.
But impressions—whether first, last, or in-between—actually matter more than before. Technology might have changed the landscape of connecting with people and conducting business, but appearances still matter, whether working from home or in the office.
The message you convey with your image sets a tone even before you speak, making your attire along with its non-verbal communication, your most visible credential. The great news is that you can control and change how these visual credentials are displayed and manage them appropriately so that they contribute to the opportunities that you didn’t know were present.
However, the rules of professional dressing in the digital era are different in every situation. A typical career spans a range of activities and environments, each with its own dress expectation. A professional wardrobe, therefore, needs to include choices for each degree of formality or informality.
With that in mind, let's break down six benefits of dressing professionally in today's workplace.
It creates your reputation before others do. Among the key aspects of setting the desired tone at your workplace, color is key. Color is closely tied to our emotions and is the most immediate and overwhelming message received by people considering our responsive nature as human beings. If you want to stand out in the corporate world, try wearing an energizing color like magenta. This warm color often promotes cheerfulness, appreciation and happiness. Pairing the right colors will brighten the room and can make you appear credible.
It contributes to brand representation. People are more likely to hire, promote and do business with individuals if they look the part. Changing your image to industry-leading standards will increase your responsibility for representing the company publicly.
It communicates (non-verbally) effectively. As mentioned before, colors are crucial in sending a non-verbal message and can add or take away from your effectiveness, especially in businesses. Choose your color wisely as some might send out messages you are not aware of.
It raises your chances of professional development: advancement, onboarding, networking, and referrals. According to a study done by Robert Half, most professionals (86 percent) and managers said clothing selections affect someone's chances of being promoted. 44 percent of senior managers said they've had to talk to an employee about inappropriate attire and 32 percent have sent staff home based on what they were wearing. This goes to show how employees' outfits bring different effects in the workplace including promotions and demotions.
Be dressed how you want to be addressed. Knowing how to use your image gives you an immediate advantage over your competitors. How we are packaged is directly correlated to how we are received by others. Respecting your image equals respecting yourself in others' eyes. Take time and invest in knowing and upgrading your personal and professional image.
Enhance your confidence & performance levels. Having a solid corporate image could get you better responsibility at the workplace. The right clothing can also boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. Knowing you look your best gives you an authentic sense of well-being and makes you feel good about yourself.