Fact or Fiction?

26 Sep

Over the weekend I came across an interesting post on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog. Turns out, the Office Pretty adage  that “buying clothes to wear to work is an investment that pays dividends in credibility and professionalism” is true!

The HBR blogger explored whether dressing for the job you want and not the job you have pay offs. Here’s a quick summary of her findings:

Earlier this year, the Swiss bank UBS came under fire for publishing an [overly] detailed dress code manual that included awesome tips such as “discreet lipstick… will enhance your personality.” Obviously, this led to much punditry. But after all the commotion died down, new research emerged that suggested the code’s intended audience — “those on the front lines of the bank’s retail operations, many of them temporary staffers new to the banking environment” — not only  needed the advice, but may have welcomed it. The Center for Work-Life Policy surveyed 1,000+ college grads working at large corporations and discovered the following:

  • 53% of women surveyed felt “aspiring female execs needed to toe a very conservative line, avoiding flashy make-up, plunging necklines, too-short or too-tight skits, and long fingernails”
  • Half of the women surveyed and 37% of the men acknowledged an intrinsic link between appearance and “executive presence”; in other words, “if you don’t look the part of a leader, you’re not likely to be given the role”
  • Respondents agreed that looking pulled together communicates self confidence (a trait they considered “the bedrock of authentic leaders”)

The post goes on to discuss the challenges that women in particular face in the workforce because of these types of beliefs. You can read the full post here.

Here at Office Pretty, we believe that professionalism and personal style can (and should!) go hand-in-hand when you’re dressing for work.  Do you ever struggle with maintaining a look that is professional and stylish? If so, we’re here to help. Send us your questions at officepretty[at]gmail.com.


One Response to “Fact or Fiction?”


  1. On trend: chunky jewelry « Office Pretty - September 29, 2011

    […] are all about justifying a shopping spree here at Office Pretty, which is why our post on Monday laid out the case for investing in your working […]

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