Does what you wear make you less of an expert??

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I have noticed that more and more people in business are becoming casual in their appearance, why is that? Especially men; go back 10 years and every man in business wore a suit and tie, now it’s ok to wear a suit and no tie or even jeans.  I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, my question is more about if someone who is a “professional” wore jeans to a meeting with you, would you take them less seriously because of what they were wearing? Don’t get me wrong, first impressions are important and we all say don’t judge a book by its cover. But should what we wear really influence others?

If you were to go into a meeting with a franchisor how would you expect them to look? Does it depend on the business sector? We assume that sales people will be very smart to give a great first impression, if they came into the meeting in shorts and a shirt how would you feel? Maybe that this meeting is not as important to them as it is to you. But why? Surely what we wear shows that we are comfortable in ourselves. But the way that business is perceived is so often in suits.

Just because you don’t wear a suit doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff!

On the other side of this though, as a franchisor would you let your franchisees wear what they like? It’s something you need to think about in your brand guidelines. Some might say it doesn’t matter what people wear so long as they look smart. But what is smart? Smart to me is probably different from smart to someone else.  It’s like the smart casual note on the bottom of an invite.  What is smart casual? I assume that means jeans and a shirt but does it? It’s like the joke picture of the naked man with a tie on saying, “It said smart casual”. If smart to you means jeans and a shirt should you write “dress code jeans and an embroidered shirt” This has slowly turned into a communication blog but how we dress and how we are perceived by others is a form of communication after all.

Anyway its hot outside and I have my shorts on

Written by Michael Bohan

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