The Suit Maketh the Man
Does a dress code matter in Ad Land?
I find myself in something of a quandary. For more years than I care to remember it’s always been drummed into me that I must dress for the occasion, to ensure that I look the part. However, I think we need to open up the lines of communication and engage in some productive dialogue about whether or not this is applicable in the modern workplace.
On the one hand…
I like to feel comfortable. Who doesn’t? Fundamentally, what I wear to meetings isn’t a direct reflection of who I am and the intrinsic value I can provide to a business. If you’ve got me in the room, surely that means my work has warranted some productive dialogue. Now, I don’t discount the fact that I have several years of experience under my belt which had led to the fortuitous position of being able to work for myself. However, the way in which you interact with me shouldn’t deteriorate just because I might have skinny jeans and a baseball cap, should it?
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love putting on a suit. And, even if I’m writing my own review here, I think I look pretty dapper. However, I like to save the peacocking for special events and when it comes to parading around like a show pony for new business, it really jars with me. Yes, I might be wearing shorts, but you’re missing the bigger picture.
Where did this train of thought have its inception? Well, there I was watching the Netflix series ‘The Chef’s Table,’ and something a few of the Chef’s echoed was the idea that “they weren’t being true to themselves” and they reiterated the importance of being “genuine” This touched me… in a good way.
However, on the other hand…
Many corporate workspaces have a dress code and I like it. It tickles my British sensibilities in all the right ways. I also think that what you wear can elevate your confidence and increase your gravitas. Let’s face it when someone does invest in a well-tailored suit or power skirt, they look the bees. Of course, the natural argument here is that this all costs money. For my generation (yes, I’m a “flakey” millennial) it’s hard enough to keep the roof over our heads, let alone drop $1k on a suit to “make an impression.” However, for the younger members of my demographic, don’t discount how important making an impression early on in your career can be. I, somewhat begrudgingly, spent my formative years dressing smartly – even when I knew I would get rinsed by my colleagues for doing so. Although there was a generous portion of ribbing, it did ensure that management took me seriously at a time when I was trying to outshine my peers.
So, I guess what I’m saying is… I’m mildly conflicted.
When we meet, regardless of what industry you work in, I want you to get the true reflection of Robert Orme Jnr. You’ll get the very best out of me when our working relationship is built on trust, empathy, communication and being genuine – No BS goes a long way.
What do you think? Should I be rolling up to new business meetings suited and booted? Does the distinct lack of shirt and tie mean you’d be less likely to tap into the expertise saved in my brain cave? Have you ever decided to rock a casual look when a more formal one would be expected? Is this type of attitude only applicable to freelance types? Where do we draw the line on casual wear? Mankini Monday?
Would love to hear your thoughts.