Dress for a Tie?

The conventional wisdom (as in Jeffrey Fox of How to Become CEO: The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization, or in  John T. Molloy’s New Dress for Success, etc.) is that one should show respect for ones coworkers and clients by striving to be the best-dressed person in the room.

Guy Kawasaki advises us in his book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions to “dress for a tie,” meaning to dress as you think your coworkers or clients will dress to show a spirit of equality.

Personally, I think that showing up for a meeting in a nice business suit sets the tone. I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to get attention without raising my voice, I’m more likely to have my suggestions taken seriously without having to verbally emphasize my point, and we get more done when I dress more carefully.

I’m also concerned that morale in a workplace slips when people come to work dressed in very casual clothes.  It won’t be long before we show up to work in our pajamas and flip flops with uncombed hair.

What do you think?



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