Do the clothes make the man?

Do the clothes make the man?

When I left University, I had every intention of joining a creative agency. An agency that supported crazy, out-of-the-box (I hate that saying), thinking. One with pages and pages from sketch books spread out across the walls, where all team members wore jeans with holes in, glasses bigger than their face and had tattoos up to their neck. The type of people Steve Jobs referred to as ‘the crazy ones’. We all know theĀ speech, right?

Since then, I’ve moved from working for myself (quite often in pyjamas all day), to working for an agency with no dress code, to working for an agency which required constant smart clothes, and now I’ve been offered a very exciting opportunity to work in the most corporate environment yet (I will hopefully reveal more details soon!).

My wardrobe has become smarter and smarter. And, as much as I feel this is a mature change, I am less comfortable, increasingly more self-conscious and slightly worried I am losing my ‘creative’ identity?

My entire dissertation project focused on first-impressions and was heavily orientated around styles and genres of people – what they wear, how they present themselves, etc. Do you think presenting yourself more seriously, makes you a more serious person? I kind of hope it doesn’t but at the same time I’m very eager to belong and fit into this agency.

A plus side to hiding your identity is the shock you give people when you sheepishly reveal your tattoos. To me, they show instant creativity and give a huge insight into my true personality. That can be quite fun! Plus Steve Jobs himself went from being a no-shoe-wearing hippie to a very corporate man, and he did just fine.

I don’t know what it is about formal-wear but it makes me feel like I’m dressing up to be somebody I’m not, especially since it’s going in the opposite direction of what I had planned. Does anybody else feel this way? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • Phil Barker

    Interesting one. I absolutely think dressing smarter and more professionally makes people take you more seriously and makes you act more professionally.

    There’s no doubt about it that turning up to work in jeans and a hoodie is one of the reasons that I don’t act very professionally in the office. I kind of miss the days were I made an effort and turned up in a suit and a tie.

    However sitting for 10 hours in a suit and a tie is one of my least favourite experiences so I opt for the casual clothing instead. It’s been on my mind for a while now though to try and dress more formally and present myself a little bit more professionally, especially as I have nearly 10 years on you and I still dress like this!

    Bad example with Steve Jobs though – he legendarily spent the entire of his professional career in jeans, white trainers and a turtleneck haha

  • Spadge

    I’m really glad you’re in two minds about this too!

    For me, it’s the whole ‘feeling like you’re at work so putting more effort in vs. feeling comfortable enough to work for a long duration.’ Difficult to get a balance.

    I feel like people take me more seriously (because I look so young anyway) when I’m dressed smarter but I will always strive to be accepted for who I really am. I agree with your last couple of sentences completely.

    I’m quite glad my new role now involves no dress code, so I have the choice now! Although that will make it harder to decide what to wear in the mornings :P how do you cope?!

  • Phil Barker

    We’ll my last job was for people who thought forcing working hours and a uniform on creative people was a good idea (because obviously you can just turn creativity on and off) so when I quit I was so happy I burnt all my “office wear”.

    Then I lost 3 stone so the shirts I did have left didn’t fit and no I have no choice but to wear baggy casual clothes haha

    I have promised myself that if I lose another stone I’m going to buy some really nice shirts and suits so I guess after that I’ll have the morning dilemma of what to wear again every day