Sorry, Kids – Looks Like You Actually Need To Start Dressing Up For Work

Sorry, Kids - Looks Like You Actually Need To Start Dressing Up For Work

It’s a tale as old as time – you “accidentally” hit the snooze one too many times, and all of a sudden, you have to be at work in 7 minutes when you live 20 minutes away. You scrounge through your laundry to find an acceptable pair of pants and give them a good shake to hopefully get at least some of the wrinkles out. You give them the obligatory sniff – eh, good enough – and throw them on, run a wet comb through your hair, and you’re out the door. Sure, you’re not going to be winning any awards for professional presentation anytime soon, but on the other hand, performance reviews aren’t for another few months, and besides, your office has adopted a more casual dress code to appeal to the “cool millennial” crowd. Surely your work attire isn’t that bad, right?

Wrong. As it turns out, even if your office has a super casual dress code, you should still be dressed to the nines from 9-5 Monday – Friday. Sure, your boss may not care if you show up in a sweatshirt, but apparently you will. I know, this sounds confusing – wearing casual clothes in the office sounds like a huge perk, but unfortunately, it really is too good to be true. As it turns out, however, your perception of yourself improves when you dress up for work, leading to increased work performance, which has now been confirmed by multiple studies. Research from the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal confirmed that there was a positive association between dressing up and “enhanced abstract processing,” meaning that if you actually took the time to wear clean, pressed pants to work, you’ll be more capable of coming up with more creative solutions to problems. This result increased when the participant was dressed better than his or her coworkers, so throw on a suit jacket every once in a while, and you’ll be on your way to a raise in no time. These results were confirmed by a study published in the Journal of Applied and Social Psychology, that noted a positive correlation between an employee’s amount of confidence in his- or herself and whether or not he or she dressed up for work.

As much as I want to be on Team Leggings To Work, from working in two offices with lax dress codes, I can unfortunately attest to the negative benefits comfortable clothes have on my mindset at work. Some sort of strange mind voodoo seems to happen when I start ditching the slacks for jeans. Watch a couple episodes of Gossip Girl on my work computer? Why not. Push back some meetings? Ok! What about turning on my out-of-office message on Thursday and unplugging my voicemail? I’ve already spent all day watching Netflix, so I might as well. When I throw on a blazer and heels and actually take the time to brush my hair, however, I feel more professional and, yep, work harder. So as much as I’d love to be on board with “millennial work culture,” unfortunately for me, I’m doomed to pass up the snooze option if I ever want to actually get any work done. For those of you who have the willpower to work hard in a messy bun or yesterday’s five-o-clock shadow, I salute you. But for now, I guess I’ll have to stick with makeup and clean clothes to keep on kicking ass at work.

[via Town & Country]

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Steph W.

Steph W. is a new Master's degree graduate with an intern's salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include attempting to trapping her boyfriend into marriage before he finds out how insane she is and pretending that Black Box wine tastes as good as the kind she could afford when she was gainfully employed. Send her tips for getting out of student debt at

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