Yep. It’s time to talk about your work clothes, dudes.
Now I’m not too sure whether there have been any scientific studies done on this – and if there haven’t, there should be – but there’s is absolutely a correlation between your performance and your appearance. Follow me here, start with yourself in the morning. If you get up ten minutes earlier and use that time to actually put some care into your work clothes for the day, you will climb the ladder of success at a quicker rate. That may seem like a bold statement, but looking good causes you to feel good. When you feel good, you work better because your confidence is high and you can focus on your work. You’re putting intention behind your day, which is always a positive start. If you’re sloppy, you will subconsciously become distracted. You won’t feel motivated to do your best because people won’t expect it of you…after all, you’re the sloppy guy at the office.
The first and most important thing to consider…
First and foremost, ALWAYS…fit. Stop buying your shirts too big, guys. Ladies, if you’re reading this, stop letting your guy wear shirts that are WAY too big. Get something that’s fitted enough to accentuate your shape but not so tight that you can’t move freely. It doesn’t need to be a perfectly tailored as the pages of GQ, but get something that doesn’t billow out too much around the waist when tucked in. A bit of extra room is fine like I have in this shirt, but keep it to a minimum.
You honestly expect to be taken seriously in today’s workplace without tailoring your trousers?? Given, they don’t need to be ridiculously slim and cropped, but you also shouldn’t be swishing around in your trousers like they were a pair of high school sweats. Get something that fits in the waist without needing a belt and then take them to the tailor to have the lower leg tapered and brought up just a bit. Ideally, you want the edge of your pant leg to just barely touch the top of your dress shoe, leaving little to no break in the pant while standing. Once you’ve gotten yourself comfortable with that, you can start to go a bit shorter like mine. The thigh of the pant should only be a bit wider than your actual thigh. If the fabric of both legs is touching while you stand, they’re WAY too big.
Work shoes should be clean and polished. I think it’s smart to keep a couple of pairs in your work rotation that are work-only shoes. Get a nice black pair and a nice brown pair, then some driving mocs or something for casual Fridays, that’s all you need.
In terms of socks, go bold. If your pants are properly tailored, they should just barely peak out on occasion. It’s a great way to showcase your personality at the office without being too in your face or obnoxious. Obviously, if you have a huge meeting with a stodgy client, maybe tone it down a bit. On normal days, however, express yourself! Be known as the sock guy at work who is expected to wear something fun and interesting. It will only motivate you to put a bit more consideration into your wardrobe.
Unless you work in a ridiculously stuffy environment, don’t shy away from colors. If you look around the office and see a bunch of guys wearing white and different shades of blue, you’re not alone. This is what most office crowds look like that I see on lunch breaks every day. By wearing something a bit out of the ordinary, but still within the acceptable confines of office attire, you’re setting yourself apart. You’ll get noticed by your boss more often, which if you’re performing your best, is a great thing!
Trousers aren’t always necessary. Invest in some slim fitting chinos in classic colors like navy, dark khaki, stone, and black. This way, if you’re not in the mood to wear something overly dressy, you can have the comfort of a cotton pant with the slim fit of a well-tailored trouser. The great thing about chinos is that most brands that offer them have a ton of different colors, so once you find the brand that fits you the way you like, just buy several pairs from them and keep them in your rotation.
Bold and Muted
If you’re going with a more colorful shirt, it’s nice to let the shirt do the talking in your look. A patterned sock that’s not also a bright color is a perfect addition to set yourself apart. I would recommend picking socks last, as you don’t want to be too matchy-matchy but also don’t want to be too clashy-clashy (I feel gross for typing both of those, haha).
Embody Your Goals
Don’t forget that the clothes don’t completely make the man. You can be wearing these awesome shirts from Primestitch but ultimately some of this has to come from within. Believe in yourself and the process of your hard work. I highly doubt that it’s anyone’s goal to be the sloppy guy at the office. If your goal is to one day be the boss or to continue to grow as an employee and a contributor to your financial success, remember that and embody it!
A quick recap:
- Fit: Always important. Keep it slim without being uncomfortable.
- Tailoring: Trousers and shirts can be tailored for a small cost. The benefits FAR outweigh the cost.
- Boldness: Socks are a perfect way to differentiate yourself in a sea of similarities.
- Options: Consider that you don’t have to wear exactly what everyone else in the offices wears. If something like chinos fit the dress code, introduce them into your style.
- Believe: Once you’ve followed these steps, know that you are building your knowledge and let that inform your confidence. You deserve what you work hard for, so go out there and earn it!
Don’t forget…do it for you, not them.