The Importance of Dressing Professionally

Our attire is the first thing most people see and is therefore one of the best tools for creating a good first impression. Presenting oneself well is one of the key facets of communication and our style is one of the most important aspects of how we present ourselves. How we communicate, carry ourselves, and dress are all part of another person’s image of us, but our appearance is what they immediately perceive, and it can affect their opinion of us before even a single word is spoken. Maintaining a positive and professional image is exceedingly important in work and academic environments. This article discusses several reasons as to why most organisations and academic institutions stress the need for dressing professionally.

Look the part

The types of attire considered professional generally depends on the environment. In many places, the standard formal attire is considered professional whereas other places require less or more. In certain places a collared button shirt may be considered professional whereas others can require a jacket. Some organisations do not require any professional attire and have very loose dress codes. Tech companies are an infamous example for this. Therefore, it is important to match the attire to what your co-workers or peers wear. People are more likely to include you in important discussions and projects if you appear professional and committed.

Represent your institution

Many organisations expect their members to represent the company in professional settings, even when outside of the standard scope of work. As mentioned previously, dressing professionally imparts a strong first impression on anyone you meet and as a representative of your institution, showcases it in a positive light. This is important when attending meetings or events on behalf of the company, or when representing the company in a negotiation.

It lends credibility

Dressing professionally almost always makes you look more credible, regardless of almost any other factors. Someone who is well dressed is likely to have their ideas heard and considered whereas a poorly dressed individual may find their ideas dismissed or overlooked in a meeting. Professional attire also lends an air of confidence to a speaker which allows them to articulate their thoughts more effectively. People in general tend to trust attractive people, and our attire has a large say in how attractive we are.

Although certain organisations may not have a dress code or strictly require that their employees dress professionally, it often helps to do so, especially if you are attending a company event, making a presentation, participating in an interview. In many cases, how you dress is an outward expression of your attitude towards the task you are undertaking, and a well-dressed individual reflects their commitment to the company. However, it is important to not be over-dressed in the sense that dressing professionally in a setting where it is not expected or unusual. This is true of certain modern workspaces where the organisation culture may be different from the traditional professional workplace. It is important to adapt to the environment and dress accordingly.