A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Casual Fridays on the Way Out?
Dear Sue: I noticed this past week that our managers now wear
ties to work. We customarily do not do so and I am not in a managerial
position yet. How would my superiors view it if I chose to wear a tie to
Sue Says: You don’t need to have a managerial position to wear a
tie, and you don’t have to feel awkward if you choose to wear one. Chances
are you would be viewed favorably for caring enough about your job to care
about your appearance. When you make the effort to dress more
professionally, it will be noticed. And your timing couldn’t be better; a
return to more formal business attire has been predicted and slowly is
Company execs who, years ago shed their power suits in favor of casual,
and more comfortable clothing, are rethinking their decisions. Casual
clothing, once taboo in the workplace, initially entered the scene as a
one-day-a-week trend. Friday, the most popular day for casual attire, was
referred to as “casual” or “dress-down” day. It didn’t take long until
employees most everywhere were dressing more casually, and comfortably,
every day of the week.
However, as time went on, casual dress led to careless dress and
carefree attitudes. Such negligence is not a good business practice and
did not go unnoticed or without consequences.
As a result, a growing number of companies are revamping their dress
codes entirely. The pendulum is swinging back to more formal, and
traditional, workplace attire. “Dress-down day” is being replaced with
“Dress-up” day and “Formal Friday” is replacing “Casual Friday.”
Most employers urge employees to make changes in their wardrobe,
according to a survey conducted by No-Nonsense. With jeans topping the
list as the one thing bosses would change about their employees’ attire,
other responses included the desire to see employees dressing more
formally, wearing suit jackets, and avoiding tight or revealing clothing.
Nearly two-thirds of the managers surveyed agreed that employees who wear
more professional attire advance faster in their careers.
When vying for a position or promotion, employers must look for reasons
to disqualify some of the many (equally) qualified candidates they have.
Image plays a big part when determining the best person for a job. If two
people have similar credentials, but one appears to be more qualified, he
or she will have an advantage. The person who looks more professional and
successful is likely to be be viewed more favorably.
Rarely is personal appearance discussed in employee reviews, yet I’ve
heard countless stories from individuals who attribute a promotion or a
raise to the fact that they dressed better than they needed to and
“looked” as though they were ready for advancement.
I’ve also heard from managers who didn’t promote someone because they
didn’t look ready to take on more responsibility.
If you do nothing differently other than start wearing a tie to work
each day, that action alone will change the perception others have of you.
When you resemble management you will appear as though you are ready to
move into a managerial position. Even if you’ve tried, but failed, to draw
attention to yourself before, the change in your appearance could be what
it takes for you to draw attention to yourself now.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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