Dressing for Success: It’s All About the Context!

There was once a time when every professional, no matter his or her industry, put on a suit each morning.  Today, there are many interpretations of formal, business casual, smart casual, etc.  If you’re not aware of the environment you’re in it can be easy to look sloppy, and it can be equally easy to be over-dressed.

 

Dress Codes vs. Self-Expression

“Dress codes have most certainly relaxed over time, particularly since the introduction of ‘jeans Fridays’ and dot-com era casual attire,” says Judah Kurtz of BPI group, a human resources consulting firm in Chicago, Illinois. “What is considered ‘appropriate’ varies by company and culture, as well as what parts of the house are strictly internal versus client/public facing.”

“Dress code policies walk a fine line between portraying a professional image to clients and customers while allowing employees to be comfortable, engaged, and expressive,” said Kevin Sheridan, senior vice president of HR optimization at Avatar HR Solutions, also in Chicago.

While some have adopted casual dress code policies that allow for self-expressions, others believe it’s important to have dress codes with limitations of expressions.

Franki Brandt-Pethtel, the Director of Operations for Bond Jewelers in the Tampa Bay Area, thinks maintaining a proper dress code shows respect for your employer, clients and yourself.

“Would you purchase an expensive piece of fine jewelry from a woman with a green Mohawk and sleeve full of tats? That’s why I wear a suit to work every day. My personal expression can wait until my day off,” she said.

While it’s ultimately up to each organization’s culture to deem what is fit, various human resource professionals believe general dress guidelines are useful as they create some parameters and expectations around what is considered appropriate.  At the same time, allowing some freedom of individual expression can have positive impacts on company culture and employee satisfaction.

“You may be memorable, but make sure you are memorable for the right reasons,” said Kurtz. “Be yourself, but don’t let your appearance or behaviors detract from your selling points: your intelligence, accomplishments, strengths and experience.”

 

Business-Meetings

Before you decide on an outfit for any professional appointment, carefully consider your audience. If you’re meeting someone abroad, research what the locals wear for business meetings and dress accordingly. When meeting with a high-level executive, do your best to mirror what he or she will wear.

For men, putting your best look forward often comes down a clean, crisp look from head to toe. Svelte suit. Slick tie. Shined shoes. Spruced hair. For women, the same rules apply. An equally unfettered, conservative — basically safe — professional look is often the best choice for meetings, regardless of your gender. If you wear a skirt with your blazer and blouse instead of dress pants, double check that it’s not too short.

 

Tech start-ups

Startups are notoriously contrarian cultures; they are looking to change the status quo. Dressing in a suit represents the status quo, or at least, a caricature of it.

Silicon Valley has a peculiar and yet virulent bias against the suit. It’s even a euphemism for an overly conservative, corporate-buzzword-speaking, pointy-haired Dilbert boss. No one wants to work with an “empty suit”. Software engineers help strongly define the culture in Silicon Valley, and they overwhelmingly don’t wear suits, or in general they don’t want to work with people who do.

If you are meeting with a tech startup, business casual dress is often the way to go.

Source:  Entrepreneur.com

 

Thank you for joining us in West LA!

Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. thanks all who attended the Business Networking Mixer on Thursday, August 21st.  Barrister revealed the beautiful renovations to Suite 400 on the 4th floor of 11500 Olympic Boulevard.  The reception area and main conference room were reconfigured with glass to enhance the entry with natural light, new artwork, furniture, carpet, and reception desk.

 

The turnout was wonderful. It was great to see so many familiar faces.  Barrister thanks the West LA Chamber, brokers, other local professionals and tenants for showing their support by attending the event.  

 

While attendees enjoyed some great business networking, food and cocktails, Barrister had a raffle drawing.   Congratulations to our friends and raffle prize winners: Robert Donin, Gene Fisher, Molly Smulian and Jaime Alvarado. 

 

Click here to see all the photos of the party!

 

“This was an excellent event. We were very pleased with the outcome.  Business networking is just one more way that Barrister adds value to their tenants’ business. We’re very pleased to be partnered with the Barrister team.”  Said Mark Hazan of Ramcal Management, Inc.

 

If you were unable to make the party, please feel free to stop by anytime to tour the property.  For more information, or to refer a client, please contact Dawn Thompson, Suite Manager, at (310) 312-4540 or email dthompson@barrister-suites.com.  We welcome you to visit in person or via our website: www.barrister-suites.com to view our portfolio of Class A locations.    Barrister Executive Suites, Inc., 11500 Olympic Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90064.