Want to Get Ahead? Dress Like the Boss

When it comes to dressing for success, following corporate dress code might be less important than paying attention to what the boss wears, and mimicking it — just enough.

dress like the boss 

(Photo Credit: B/Flickr)

A recent post on The Wall Street Journal’s careers blog explores the idea that the best way to get ahead is to mirror your manager’s fashion sense.

Recently, stylists and career coaches have started advising their clients to take cues from the higher ups, but adapt their look to their position and personal style. So if the CEO wears a three-piece suit, and you’re more of a flip-flops kind of guy or girl, you need to leave the beach wear at home. But you don’t need to transform yourself into a pinstriped pod-person version of who you used to be.

“It’s important to retain your own sensibility with clothing, to an extent, while still adjusting to the new boss, depending on who the ‘boss’ is,” Business and lifestyle coach Lois Barth tells The Wall Street Journal. “In other words if it’s a CEO or someone who sets the vision of the company, that’s more of an issue than a middle manager, who is less about the vision and more about the day-to-day carrying out of the vision. You have more wiggle room in honoring what your clothing is with a middle manager.”

Mirroring what the boss wears is really just the style extension of advice we’ve been hearing from career specialists for years now, namely that non-verbal communication is just as important as anything our managers say out loud.

Everything about our presentation — our clothes, our body language, our facial expressions — creates the impression we leave on others. At work, how we dress can subtly influence our colleagues’ perception of our competence and even make us better at our jobs.

And then, of course, there’s the age-old advice, much beloved by parents of recent college grads everywhere: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Maybe it’s not a totally terrible idea to see how you look in that suit, after all.

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