The reason why you don’t go down to the office in slippers and swimwear is the same reason you don’t show up there with rainbow-highlighted hair. Such choices of garments and style depend upon your profession, of course.
Say you’re lifeguarding a coast in RAK, and you show up in a suit and a slicked-back pomp every single day. You take off your suit and dress for the job at the beach’s changing rooms early in the morning, then put the suit back on when your shift’s done and you’re prepared to leave home.
Why You Don’t See Lifeguards in Suits
Your boss may be impressed with your punctuality and keen determination for professionalism, even though that is very unlikely. Your co-workers will surely think you’re nuts though. Can’t blame them. We’d definitely think the same if we were in their shoes.
Society's hidden code, better known as common sense, prevents you from seeing lifeguards in full suits and the like of topless men in offices. Granted, some professions are blessed with the ability to hinder society’s very own mute code. In tech workplaces, for example, showing up in sweatpants and a hoodie and being ungroomed for a couple of weeks is a common occurrence given very little attention. Such places are the exception though, not the rule.
And even though society’s leniency has been on the rise when it comes to clothing and personal appearance in the workplace, how you dress and groom is still regarded as an unspoken rule in many corporate workplaces.
Personal Hairstyling Conforms a Similar Approach
Society’s hidden code of apparel applies to hairstyling too. Remember, this hidden code is basically common sense in its essence. And the kind of hairstyle you put up must also somewhat depend upon circumstance. It doesn’t make any sense to apply gel to straighten your hair just before going for a dip in the pool.
On the other hand, though, it does make sense to get the sharpest and cleanest of cuts just before attending a job interview. People crave appearances. And what better impressions are formed than through hip business casual pieces of clothing and a fresh out-of-the-barbershop look when we’re talking corporate?
Personally speaking, we don’t like to judge books by their cover. Unfortunately, however, we can’t compensate for the people that do. According to a study, employees who are consistently groomed to look their best are more likely to be viewed as upper management material by top executives.
As humans, we fall prey to our prejudices 24/7. That's mainly because the non-verbal part of human communication, which is inclusive of appearances, gestures, and body language constitutes 93 percent of all our communication. This is precisely the reason why the bar is set so high for appearances and other non-verbal means of communication.
Physical appearance portrays itself in the corporate environment by distinguishing professional roles beyond personal characters. As such, its psychological implication explains the professional role of the conversation, what’s expected of it, and to what end it serves, hence why it is valued so dearly in corporate.
Have you heard the saying: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? Well, we did as well, yet we’re still to find bartenders dressed in racetrack suits. In truth, this saying doesn’t stand much to benefit us, nor you, because it’s all based upon a shallow meaning of apparel and appearances. We prefer our own saying, which goes along the lines of “Dress for success”. Success’s definition is personal to you, and should never rely solely upon the external standards set upon us by society.
Your personal definition of appearance success has some limitations of course
You should always use your best judgment when adopting a new hairstyle to suit your professional environment. As a rule of thumb, rainbow highlights are off the table. Hair tattoos and unorthodox hair trims are ruled out too. 10-inch long beards are generally not recommended either unless you’re working with Vikings or Islamic extremists. What the majority of us will find is that most of our currently adopted hairstyles are admissible within the workplace.
With hairstyles going by thousands of names nowadays, it's definitely not within our grasp to advise you on the “best corporate hairstyles”. There’s no standard that fits all when it comes to corporate hairstyling. Heck, even some executives nowadays slay man-buns, perms, and ponytails in their offices. Gone are the days when adhering to professionalism strictly meant boasting a short hairstyle. Hence, we believe part of adapting to this new era means dressing and grooming for the occasion, while using your best judgment of course.
Bad hair days: a long-forgotten myth
Choosing a hairstyle for your corporate environment is one thing. But, as you’ve probably noticed, we’re not super keen on what hairstyle you adopt in your professional life. However, we do intend to stress the standards upon which you uphold your grooming game down at corporate. Keeping your grooming game in top shape means paying attention to the current level of care you apply to your personal grooming.
Do you trim or shave every other day? How long do you wait between haircuts? Do you adopt a different hairstyle every morning? Realizing your current habits can help you stir things up a bit. The end goal of this self-realization is to hear people gossiping: “Have you ever seen this guy have a bad hair day?”
No double faces
Granted, if you dress up smart and groom sharply, yet act like a corporate elite, you wouldn’t be cool. You’d be a douche. Your corporate image should never be out of sync with your personality. Just because you’re wearing the freshest cut in the office and people consistently mistake you for the company’s CEO does not give you the right to boast your elite demeanor all around. Going overboard with your corporate image can hinder your authenticity, taking a toll on your reputation, big time. With your newly formed grooming habits, you want to gain the award of “Best Dressed” at employee ceremonies, not “Corporate Snake”.
It's all business, mate
Even in corporate environments with no explicit dress codes, your standards of apparel and grooming are albeit indirectly taken into account, creating prejudice that could be in or out of your favor. Unfortunately, such prejudice is out of your control as it is part of what makes us humans as we convey ourselves in our appearance, body language, and gestures much more than we do with words.
The simplest example of that is to take a gander at salespeople. Part of their pitch relies upon the way they are dressed and groomed. And according to a study, a sharply-dressed salesman is more likely to slam-dunk offers left and right when compared with other salespeople who disregard paying such close attention to their appearances.
Keeping one's physical appearance in check doesn't solely stand to benefit the sales department. Sharply dressed and well-groomed employees are reputation enhancers for a company in the eyes of its stakeholders. After all, companies are run and represented by people. And an impression formed on an employee is an impression formed upon the entire company.
Who knows? Part of the reason you may be on management’s A-list for upcoming promotions could be the alluring, charming appearance you consistently put up at the office.