Life After Fat Pants and Slippers



Now that many of us are going back into the office or starting to travel again for work, what are you supposed to do about your wardrobe? We got rid of our office almost 18 months ago and I haven't worn shoes for so long I am fearful my feet will rebel if I try to squeeze them into heels or dress shoes!


I read a great article about workplace attire in Inc. Magazine called "What You Should Wear to Work Now? A Harvard Professor's 3 Rules for Post-Covid Dressing. This article caught my eye because I am going to Dallas for a conference and it's been so long since I had to wear anything but jeans and tennis shoes, it actually caused me a little angst. It made me wonder what's changed with people and what they deem appropriate to wear to work now?


I come from an old-school mentality that you dress for success yet I am reading articles discussing showing your "whole self" at work and not trying to be someone you are not. However, how you dress is a reflection of what you want people to think of you. Like it or not, people do make snap decisions about you and your level of competence based on what they see in the first few seconds. Even though we have been remote for 2 1/2 years now, I could never bring myself to NOT get up everyday, do my hair, and get dressed in something that didn't scream "she's schlumping on the couch after this Zoom call."


For many of us, remote work is a permanent fixture. I cannot see going back into an office everyday since all of my employees work from 4 different states and 2 countries. That doesn't change what people will think about me when I am doing a Zoom call with a new potential client or introducing my candidate to my client on a Teams interview. Early in the Pandemic, I remember meeting a client for the first time after signing the agreement and seeing this person in a grey college hoodie. I remember introducing a client (who was a Director level leader for a Top ENR firm) to a candidate at the start of a video interview and my client was wearing a worn out concert T-shirt and my candidate had a crisp button-down shirt. My perception was altered- I couldn't but think, really? Do you really think that is appropriate?


Yes, I may be old school, but I suggest saving your "whole self" for weekends and your close personal friends, and to dress for the position that you want to have.