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Dressing for the Success You Hope For

BookEnds is a small enough office where you could easily wear your pajamas or yoga pants to work. For the most part, we work behind computers and phones and except for appointments with editors and authors (which don’t happen every day) we only see each other. Yet, I always dress as if I’m walking into a major corporate office. Every day. The only time you’ll see me in anything equivalent to yoga pants is if you happen to catch me in the office prior to 7am–it’s the only time of day I allow myself to work before being ready for the day.

I’m sometimes teased for my choice of clothes since I’m not required to dress that way. I’ve always stood firm on the belief that I am a stronger and smarter agent when I dress for the job I’m doing. I truly believe that I will be a tougher negotiator, a more determined agent, if I dress for power and success. Yoga pants make it too easy to cop out.

I had an ah-ha moment recently when I read this article in Fast Company, and by ah-ha I mean “ah-ha! I was right”. In the article, the author decided to test my theory (and the theory of others) and found that, in fact, we were right. Dressing for the job you want to do and the success level you want to have can make a difference in how you work. Try it, I’d be interested in hearing your results.

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10 comments

  1. Even if I plan to spend the at my computer writing, I have to get dressed, put on make-up and fix my hair. The clothes might be jeans and a nice top, but I can’t focus in my pajamas! I do enjoy casual Friday at work though.

  2. I’ve always dressed for the work I intend to do and never thought of doing otherwise. Of course, the first thing I do every morning is barn chores, so, well, pajamas just wouldn’t cut it. 😉

  3. I agree. I read an article a long time ago that said we should be visitor ready, meaning if someone drops in unexpectedly we won’t feel caught out. It didnt mean a gold lame catsuit and stilletos but a natural stylishness (?). I wouldnt feel work ready without wearing something I wasnt happy with. I wouldnt walk the dog without my make up and if I’m not wearing dangly earrings I feel positively naked!

  4. I always dress up when I work from home. A lot of companies where people make sales calls from home require them to wear shoes while they make their calls – they get more sales.

    I do write in my pajamas when I write before breakfast (the 5-7am shift).

  5. Such a great post! Jessica, you are a well of hot topics. Indeed, this is something I discovered for myself as well. I’m a business woman, I run a translation company, and I’m also a writer. And even when I write my manuscripts I’m still in elegant clothes, because writing isn’t just about art. Sure, I do it with the pleasure others feel when they eat chocolate, but still, there comes the part where you have to see the holes in the plot, put together the details, craft meaningful and strong cliffhangers and, of course, come up with an ending that was there all along and yet unpredictable. I don’t think I’d be able to do that in yoga pants, I’ll tell ya that much. Love these posts! Have a great weekend y’all :*

  6. I have heard it said you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. The context is usually when you’re looking for a promotion, say from the regular “working” ranks to the management or executive ranks. The idea is that if you dress like an executive, people will start to see you as an executive. This in turn should help grease the wheels when you look for that promotion.

    Speaking more broadly, we recoil at the idea of “judging” people by appearances. We know we shouldn’t, but it’s almost second nature. Often it’s okay to dismiss such judgments, but it’s also okay from time to time to play on those expectations. Dress how you want to be perceived, and see if people’s perceptions change. If you don’t think people take you seriously, dress as if you mean business.

    Interesting stuff! 🙂

  7. I strongly believe in the importance of dressing properly. I’m in a few support groups for fibro and arthritis, the number of people who have day time pj’s and night time pj’s shocked me.
    I get up and get dressed everyday, it may be yoga pants but very often it’s a summer dress, usually with thick tattoo tights and a big shawl to keep me warm, and still feel pretty.

    It makes a difference to my health and my writing, it’s amazing the power the mind has.

  8. I’ve worked a job that has a large outdoor component a lot of my life (often hard hat, steel caps etc) so my wardrobe probably isn’t like most! But I can’t stay in my pjs all day (I don’t like it). Heating and cooling is expensive, so to write in the winter months I tend to wear trackies and ugg boots (comfy and warm), and in summer light summer dresses or t-shirts and shorts. I rarely wear make-up but that isn’t unusual in Oz.

    I dress as the situation calls for (so when I have worked in an office I wore appropriate business clothes), but when I write feeling comfortable is hugely important!

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