Let Your Dress Set An Example of Success in the Competitive Workplace


Whether you enjoy dressing up or not, making your clothes work in your favour in the working environment is preferable to having them work against you.

The four key effects you should always aim for when dressing professionally are respect, credibility, acceptability, and influence.

While it may appear that your clothes don't really "make" you, they might actually unmake you.

Therefore, refrain from dressing improperly for the workplace, regardless of whether you work for a small or large company. Suppose you regularly come to work in inappropriate attire. In that case, your boss, colleagues, or subordinates will assume that you don't care about respecting yourself and treating yourself well by dressing inappropriately, so why should they care to respect you, consider you to participate in occasions that represent the company, or consider you for promotion?


Many years ago, after suffering a devastating setback, I was coerced by a kind cousin to accept a teaching position that paid barely N10,000 per month. And please don't take this statement as me being proud. I began my career as a teacher with a N1,300 salary. I had paid my dues in the field and didn't expect anything less with my capacity. Having said that, this amount of money was substantial back then. The money simply never ran out. Anyway, let's get right to the point. I started working at this school near my cousin's house and dressed for the job as if I were resuming a managerial role at a large corporation in Lekki.

The school owner, his wife, and the teachers' jaws dropped when I resumed work for the first time. They questioned, "Why is she dressed in this way? It's as if she has no idea where she has come to work. Leave her. She'll soon be weary of dressing well!"

I chose to ignore them, focus diligently on my work, and continue dressing the way I know best. The students I teach picked up on my personality, making them stand out distinctively throughout the entire school. Soon, word spread about how I dress, talk, and do my job. When I sent the kids' notes home, parents were wowed by my correspondence, which is another component of my professional image. The parents wanted to meet me. Numerous offers to teach at home came my way. Parents soon became agitated and demanded that their kids be moved to my class. People started bringing their children to the school. The school owner's and teachers' perspectives were also altered. He stopped walking about his school in ruffled shirts with folded hems and fluffy bathroom slippers. The teachers likewise upgraded, donning proper attire. Finally, I was given the chance to work alongside the school's founder to build it, and in place of a N10,000 salary, we discussed the percentage of the school that would come to me as a partner. However, I declined the offer. That's a story for another day.

It's crucial to dress professionally and with good judgment. Imagine the wonderful prospects it could offer you in the long term in your large organisation if dressing appropriately and having an upbeat outlook could create opportunities in a small setting like this.

Before leaving for work each day, ask yourself this question: "Am I a success model in the highly competitive workplace of today with the way I dress?"

I'm hoping this post helps you to communicate appropriate clothing from now on. The main lesson from this piece is that you should dress for success based on where you want to go, not where you are right now. So pay a premium for it.

To your continued success.

Damilola Ogunremi,
Etiquette and Image Consultant

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