How To Maintain A Professional Image Outside Of Work Without Feeling Flashy
Picture this... It's Saturday night and you're out for drinks with your buddies.
Not a care in the world.
Out of the corner of your eye you notice one of your clients or coworkers walk in.
An important one too.
While nursing a crisp pint of lager your mind starts racing.
You're out having a good time and it's the last thing you want to think about right now.
So you dressed accordingly.
An outfit made up of a "well-worn" pair of jeans, an old (yet comfy) t-shirt, and scuffed up sneakers.
A perfectly appropriate outfit for a night out with the boys.
Or is it?
Assuming that you're someone who takes his career seriously, the last thing you want to do is leave a bad impression with ANYONE.
So even though it's the weekend and you're not working, why does what you're wearing matter?
Let me explain.
As humans we're visual creatures.
Rather than consciously processing the 60,000 thoughts a day we're bombarded with we've developed shortcuts to make our lives easier.
Shortcuts like Thin Slicing.
One of Malcolm Gladwell's theories about creating reference points in our minds that we associate with specific symbols.
Like the way we dress for example.
So even though a night out for a few drinks with your buddies seems unrelated to your career, it's not.
You may not even interact with this person.
With that said, there's still a possibility that how you present yourself can influence their impression of you.
To be honest, it wasn't until recently that this all started to make sense to me.
After working with a few clients over the past few months, it became clear that casual style is something men struggle with.
For a busy professional it isn't as black and white as it may seem.
Dress-codes are generally well defined in most offices.
But what's a guy supposed to do when he clocks out and the rules go out the window?
It's a free for all (just like the Royal Rumble)!
Don't worry, after reading this you'll feel confident about your casual style.
So if being taken seriously as a professional is important to you (even after hours) keep reading...
Don't Be Too Casual With Your Casual-Wear
There's a fine line here...
On one side there's the possibility of looking sloppy or creating the impression that you shouldn't be taken seriously.
On the other, it's clear that your casual style is an extension of your professional personality.
This means that who you are at work is actually genuine.
Rather than competing, these two areas of your life should compliment one another.
It's hard to argue with how good it feels to throw on a well-worn pair jeans, a comfy t-shirt, and sneakers.
Don't you love this look when you're running around on Saturdays (I do too)?
Whatever your motivation for dressing casually may be, there's a way to do it while still maintaining a professional image.
Choose A Variation Of Your Daily Dress-Code
Make your life easier!
Are you familiar with the saying, "Work smarter not harder?"
It actually applies directly to today's topic.
Rather than having two competing wardrobes (casual and professional), have a well-rounded one that's easy to choose from.
It does help to clearly distinguish between the two areas of your life.
That's mainly because of wear and tear related issues.
That doesn't mean that you can't have items that go both ways.
Basically the goal is to get the most mileage out of your wardrobe.
An easy way to do this is to invest in pieces that can be worn in multiple situations.
Rather than buying dress shirts and casual button-ups, just focus on the casual button-ups.
Shirts like this can easily be worn untuck with a pair of jeans and sneakers.
They also naturally work with a suit or dress pants without looking like they're out of place.
The best part is that nobody can really tell the difference.
It's not likely that someone will inspect your shirt when you're at work.
And if they do, that's weird.
Why You'll Stand Out (for the right reasons)
Since dress-codes are looser these days it's not that difficult to be seen as a well-dressed man.
By taking the time to understand what works for you and wearing that consistently throughout the week, you'll recondition the way people treat you.
Though they may not even realize it, you're basically reprogramming their subconscious minds to treat you like an executive.
This ultimately gains you more respect.
According to a 2014 study conducted by Yale, dressing one step above the dress-code makes you feel more powerful too.
With the men who dressed casually only generating less than half of the theoretical profit in their experiment compared to men who dressed up in suits.
Don't get me wrong, being comfortable on the weekends is important. Especially if you're not working.
Setting aside proper downtime has actually been proven to increase productivity in the long-term.
The purpose of today's article was to point out the importance of maintaining a professional image outside of working hours.
Something that's come to my attention more frequently as of late.
If career success is a high priority for you, then make sure your casual style compliments your professional image.
Hopefully you enjoyed today’s article.
Thank you for taking the time to read it.
While you’re here, you should check out the free style guide below…