Attire in the workplace: To suit up or not to suit up

One of the many benefits of employment in the Florida advertising industry (post “Mad Men” era) is that “casual Fridays” apply to nearly every day of the week—as long as clients aren’t scheduled for meetings or visiting the office. Coming from a previous work environment where suits were the norm, this was an adjustment for me, but one that didn’t take very long to settle into. I found that being comfortable in your work environment actually does wonders for productivity. I actually feel that we work harder and better in less “stuffy” clothing.
Just look at other successful companies out there today, like Facebook and Google. These Fortune 500 companies embrace comfortable, casual attire. When you’re comfortable, you’re more relaxed and more open to new ideas, creativity, and innovation. It’s a win-win for employer and employee.

However, there is a time and a place for business attire. I was once told by one of my mentors in the industry that when dressing for meetings, one should dress in attire that embodies the “feel” of the client or their industry. For example, if you’re meeting with an upscale law office, professional dress would be expected. But if meeting with an artist, jeans and a blouse are appropriate.

Either way, my advice would always be to put your best foot forward when meeting clients and business associates. Just think about it—You wouldn’t show up to a wedding in jeans and a t-shirt (well – most weddings), or a graduation ceremony in board shorts and a tank. So why risk showing up to a business meeting in a sundress and sandals only to learn you’re the most casual one in the room? There goes your credibility… and your confidence!

Ultimately you’ll only look as good as you feel. No matter what you’re wearing, there’s nothing worse than constantly tugging or messing with your clothes while in a meeting, whether it’s casual or not. Make sure your attire fits and is comfortable. Self-confidence is more visible to others than you might think!

I truly appreciate the casual dress code in the advertising industry, but I firmly believe, regardless of your trade, that if you want to make the best impression and represent your company in the highest of lights, business attire is a sure bet. Save the jeans and t-shirts for those days when you know you’ll only be seen by your coworkers or when pulling an all-nighter at the office.

What do you think about casual office attire in the advertising industry? Share your thoughts below.

Written by, Sandra Wilson –Account Manager at BIGEYE Creative