Tough Economic Times Call for Professional Dressing

When the economy goes south hemlines follow suit, affirms a well-known saying within the fashion industry. Coined by the American economist George Tayler in the 1920s, although not statistically proven, this “hemline theory” asserts that skirt lengths fluctuate alongside the economy.

But hemlines apart, should you be paying attention how you dress during a recession? The answer from the corporate world,which seems to have smartened up during the last three years, is a resounding Yes!

Gone are the days of the boom dotcom days when casual wear epitomised youthful confidence and entrepreneurial spirit. Today casual dress equals sloppiness and that is not the message you want to be sending during these tough economic times.

Contrary to a wide-held belief that casual dressing helps us be more creative, research shows the opposite. A study from American Corporate Trends magazine reported that on casual Fridays companies saw 50% drop in employees’ commitment to the job, 35% rise in tardiness and 63% increase in customer complains. As a result more and more companies are scrapping the casual wear and introducing professional dress codes.

The fashion industry has also picked up this mood as we saw the suit making a come back at last year’s Fall collections. And this year guess what? Skirt hemlines on the runways are indeed longer! Retailers have been reporting an increase in sales of businesswear such as suits and dressy shirts while more casual lines are not performing equally well. Always at the forefront of trends Net-a-Porter.com has added a work-wear boutique on its online shop, which includes corporate, creative and professional lines.

What does this mean for you? Well the message is loud and clear: Tough Economic Times Call for Professional Dressing. The messages coming from both the corporate and fashion worlds reflect a back-to-basics outlook with a “let’s get down to business” message. If you want to stand out for your professionalism make sure to dress accordingly even if your company does not have a strict professional dress code. Keep in mind that, whether you like or not, your appearance speaks volumes so don’t sabotage your hard work with a scruffy look.

If you are a company executive, make sure your employees stand up to the competition. A dressier appearance makes your staff feel and look more professional than your rivals. And as the research shows better dressed employees means better customer service.

The Greek version of this article can be found here.

© 2011 Confidence Inside Out
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