First impressions matter, and you don’t get a second chance to make a good one. Whether it’s a job interview or a sales pitch, you can hear these maxims in almost any business conversation. Although one can argue that first impressions are only a beginning, for most people, they’re deal-makers and deal-breakers. Not only because they last beyond the initial moment, but also because of something called a primacy effect.
This is a psychological phenomenon that plays a role in impression formation. A phenomenon in which the individual tends to better remember the first piece of information they receive in a series of events. In a professional setting, the first thing people notice about you is the way you look and act, and sometimes, this can be weighted more than your actual idea, offer presentation, or product.
Why Is Workplace Attire Important?
Because from the moment you walk through the door to the moment you engage in conversation, the only thing people know about you is your outward appearance. And being the first thing that’s noticed, it usually sticks. Whether you like it or not, it’s part of human nature to judge people’s personalities based on their outfits. A lot can be deduced from a person’s manner of dress.
The clothes can reveal a person’s mood, character, style, background, and social status—heck, clothes can even tell you if that person overslept and came in late that morning. In a business environment, work clothes can tell you whether someone is professional, approachable, and hospitable. At least, that’s what they should tell you. When choosing your workwear you should keep in mind that your choice is a part of the bigger picture – the company’s brand image.
Whether you’re a business owner looking for employee work attire or a first-time employee building a professional wardrobe, the clothes you pick can help you make a solid first impression and even improve a bad one. Painting a strong brand image takes time and it’s not rare for big names to use workwear to refresh the look and feel of their brand.
Impressions and appearances aside, your clothes for work also affect your confidence, performance, and productivity. You look good, you feel good, and you do your job well—quite simple, isn’t it? If only it was that easy.
What Is Not Appropriate Work Attire?
Usually, the first things that come to mind are short shorts, mini skirts, ripped jeans, crop tops, and other revealing outfits. Yes, in most professional scenarios these would all be considered inappropriate, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Would you consider a wrinkled or worn uniform appropriate? How about clothes that feel too tight, making it impossible to breathe, let alone move? There are certain dos and don’ts regarding staff uniforms and attire that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Do Buy Stylish Workwear
Keeping up with the trends in corporate clothing and work uniforms shows is one way to stay relevant. Outmoded clothing may send the wrong message that your products or services are outdated too.
Don’t Follow Trends Blindly
Be that as it may, just because something is considered in or trendy at the moment, that doesn’t mean that it aligns with your business identity. Aim for an elegant, timeless look in neutral hues. If you decide to add a spark of personality, you can do so with appropriate accessories.
Do Buy Comfortable Clothing
Comfort is an equally if not more important factor to consider. Opt for soft, lightweight, and breathable fabrics that feel good on the skin even after a long day at work. Something in the lines of cotton, linen, merino, and polyester blends.
Don’t Forget About the Fit
Comfortable garments mean nothing if they’re the wrong size. Long sleeves that keep getting in the way or loose pants that bunch up may ruin your appearance, so make sure your clothes fit right and sit right. The same goes for staff uniforms— they should be size-inclusive, catering to all team members.
Do Buy Personalised Work Clothing
Personalized attire can help your business stand out from the rest. Think of it as a “free” walking advertisement for your company. Moreover, personalized uniforms also create a sense of unity and equality among employees.
Don’t Copy Your Competitors
If you’re considering bespoke designs, your main goal should be creating a distinctive look for your team. Copying is easy, but that doesn’t guarantee you can replicate the success of your competitors. Choose pieces that put your story and brand front and centre for your clients and customers.
Do Buy Functional Clothing
Depending on your line of work, you may also want to choose clothes that serve a functional purpose, take safety workwear, for example. These garments may protect the worker from the elements and chemical exposure, provide hi-vis protection in low-light conditions, and so on, and so forth.
Don’t Buy High-Maintenance Clothing
Clothes that wrinkle, tear, or stain easily shouldn’t be a part of your work ensemble. Certain man-made fibres and blends like cotton/polyester combine the comfort and breathability of natural fabrics with the durability and easy-care properties of synthetics. Keep this in mind if you want to take the fuss out of garment care and maintenance.
Do Get Your Money’s Worth
Putting your best foot forward doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. Modern, designer uniforms aren’t the most affordable, but if you take the time to look for companies that offer wholesale prices with no retail markups, you can end up saving big without compromising quality.
Don’t Try to Save at the Cost of Quality and Durability
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is—a tale old as time that holds true in every situation, including this one. Cheap uniforms will only get you so far, you need high-quality and durable garments that’ll withstand the rigours of heavy, everyday wear, and that comes at a certain price. If you try to save at the cost of quality, you’ll only end up paying twice.
Dressing for both the job you want and the job you have is only possible with the right wardrobe. It goes beyond first impressions as a show of good manners and etiquette that’s prized by clients, customers, colleagues, and superiors. And now that you know the dos and don’ts of workwear shopping, I’ll leave you to it.