“You’re so money, and you don’t even know it!” – Swingers
Men have been wearing suits to work for generations, but it’s becoming less common, and that’s a real pity. Because while sharp work attire, such as some of these Dobell suits, won’t actually give you any additional talent to do your job, or a deep insight into your customer’s soul, or a sudden realisation as to which way the FTSE is going to go over the next six months, it IS thought to help men perform better at work. Here’s why…
When Don Draper walks into a client meeting on Mad Men, all eyes are instantly on this legendary creative director. He has a presence about him and it’s not all physical, it’s also in the way he dresses. Research has shown that a good suit makes the wearer feel more powerful and self-confident. It allows them to see the bigger picture, instead of becoming bogged down in details – always a good quality for senior leadership to have. Confident men who feel good about themselves will leave an impression on others. As Draper would no doubt agree, you should dress like the person you want to be.
The suit helps you to be taken seriously. When Mark Zuckerberg takes the stage at technology conferences, people listen intently to what he has to say. But that wasn’t always the case. At first, this kid in scruffy trainers and a hoodie was almost dismissed – no-one could believe that someone like that was really behind one of the most successful Internet companies of all time. In Zuckerberg’s case, his style of dress was a curiosity that made headlines for a while but didn’t end up detracting from what he was offering. But how many entrepreneurs with great ideas have failed because they made a bad impression on potential investors to start with? Can you afford to take that chance?
That said, a snazzy suit, badly-fitted, can often have a worse effect than no suit at all. No matter if inside your head you have the business brain of Warren Buffett Mk II, or a great idea to rival anything Elon Musk (below) might devise, or you have the work ethic of Hercules. The truth is that people associate sloppy dress with sloppy attitudes towards work. A smart suit, on the other hand, can project a ‘can-do’ attitude and might even, when called for, temporarily cover up deficiencies.
A sharp suit does a lot of the talking for you, helping you to make a great first impression, which is obviously essential when it comes to that valuable business skill, networking. Here, you really need to stand out from a crowd, and if you can bring a room to a hushed standstill upon entering then you’ll soon find yourself with a desk drawer stuffed full of business cards. So if you know you’re going to be in close contact with a lot of potential clients, investors or partners, then draw attention to yourself by wearing a suit that uses unexpected patterns, colours or cuts, or choose a bold flash of colour such as a bright pink tie with a grey suit to make a statement.
In business, image is everything. That’s why a clever salesman will sometimes hire an expensive car to drive to a crucial meeting or to pick up a client. That’s why Abercrombie and Fitch, rightly or wrongly, tend to employ what they consider good-looking young people as sales team members. Remember that you’re not just representing yourself, you’re representing your company. And if your company is YOUR company, it’s doubly important to look ready for business at all times.
The right suit will allow you to easily segue from the office to the bar, the restaurant, even the dancefloor, leaving you free to relax in the knowledge that you’re dressed for any occasion. But although a suit that’s been worn in will keep you comfortable, you’re probably going to want to get your suit dry-cleaned after a night on the town.