Monday poll: Does dress code affect performance?

Agencies have different approaches to dress code. Some are suited-and-booted all the time. Others prefer business casual in the office, but require suits for client meetings. And some have a dress-down policy all the time, even when meeting clients.

But does dress code affect your performance? Are you more ‘creative’ when in jeans and a t-shirt? Or more ‘professional’ when in a suit? Does it help you command respect? Or are you more approachable in business casual? Does it matter? Do clients care?

So does dress code affect performance? And if so, how?

[For those reading this via a newsreader, there is an AJAX-based poll pasted below which may not appear in this post via RSS. Please vote on the site – thanks].

  • Another good poll: on a knife edge as I took part…
    Of course appearances matter, and they say more than we realise. (You make a statement, though you may not intend to, by referring to yourself as being in the ‘agency’ business).
    Let’s take two parallel businesses. How do clients expect management consultants to dress? Their ad agency creatives? Now where’s LEWIS PR: a consultancy or an agency business?

  • Hi Richard – thanks for catching that. I think I’m a bit lax in my terminology perhaps. Rather confusingly I like to think I work for a PR agency (as a generic term) which also provides consultancy i.e. it thinks, as well as does. Might be semantics.
    But I like your comparison between management consultants and ad execs – where do PR firms see themselves along that scale? Between buttoned-up suits and dress-down creative types.
    Obviously that position will change over time depending on the economic climate as well. In general, in a downturn, people dress up more, and can afford to be more relaxed in a boom.

  • My view is that I work for an agency that thinks creatively but dresses credibly.
    When I walk into a brainstorm and out-think advertising agency execs in spite of their camo shorts and ironic t-shirts, it gives me a warm feeling.
    But that might just be my suit and boots. Is it hot in here?

  • True – you don’t need a goatee beard and ponytail to be creative, and in fact that may even cut against your being able to convince clients (and co-workers) of your ideas.
    One thing on my mind though is whether you feel more creative when dressed casually, and therefore are more creative. Or feel more professional when suited and so behave more professionally.
    There’s no doubt that one’s appearance can affect one’s mood and demeanor. How does that translate into effectiveness and performance?

  • bambi

    i like wearing a tiny little skirt and heels to work so no one hears what crap i talk

  • mr k lob

    yes i like doing that too