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How Important is Clothing Quality to One's Career? - Page 2

post #16 of 32
In my corner of academia (liberal-arts school) I think spending alot of money on clothes is almost looked down upon. I ge the impression that people may feel it is a case of the outside looking better than the inside (your brains). But I could be wrong.

Other academic situations could be different--in fact, two weeks back in the NYTimes weekend magazine on real estate, they went to great lengths to point out one (academic-based) economist's bespoke suit and how much better he looks than his colleagues.


bob
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Strike
Much of my own wardrobe comes from thrift shops...
Mine, too. I quite enjoy adding up what I paid for what I'm wearing vs. how much it would retail for. I'm quite limited budget wise, but there's no excuse for not dressing tolerably well. With a little effor--not necessarily with great expense--you can add items of the highest quality to your wardrobe.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bic Pentameter
Interesting statement, JBZ. I wonder if you could elaborate. I assume these people were powerful because they had the ear of important clients. How many of beauty contests did these powerful partners lose because the potential client said "I want someone who looks like [my preconceived idea of] a sucessful high class lawyer."

How many beauty contests did these powerful partners win because the potential client said of a competing firm, "I don't want to spend $500 per hour to put another Patek on his wrist or feed his out of control bespoke clothing habit."


Bic

I just tried to post a lenghty reply to this and the site logged me out while I was typing. I went to post the reply and lost it. Is there any way to prevent this from happening (other than remembering to copy your post before you hit "Submit Reply")?

I'll try to post again later.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdawson808
In my corner of academia (liberal-arts school) I think spending alot of money on clothes is almost looked down upon. I ge the impression that people may feel it is a case of the outside looking better than the inside (your brains). But I could be wrong.


bob


I agree with this (I'm in a science department). The best I can expect for dressing well is indifference. I expect it's very different in the Law and Business Schools, though. The faculty of those schools always seem to be well-dressed.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker
I am a creative in advertising where anything goes: typically tees, trendy jeans and flip-flops. I usually get flak for dressing like an "account guy" just because I wear a blazer, collared shirt and leather shoes. (Sadly, most people don't appreciate the C&J chelseas.) While dressing outside conventions could be a disadvantage, I think career advancement really should boil down to what you bring to the table: good ideas and good work. Most people don't really care what you wear so long as you deliver these. Of course, this industry is probably totally different than finance or law.

In most situations, people are more open to ideas from those perceived as like them than those from "others." In the office environment specifically, similarity to one's boss and popularity among co-workers (who like the people like them) often are determinants of promotions. Just explaining the second effects of appearance.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bic Pentameter
Interesting statement, JBZ. I wonder if you could elaborate. I assume these people were powerful because they had the ear of important clients. How many of beauty contests did these powerful partners lose because the potential client said "I want someone who looks like [my preconceived idea of] a sucessful high class lawyer."

How many beauty contests did these powerful partners win because the potential client said of a competing firm, "I don't want to spend $500 per hour to put another Patek on his wrist or feed his out of control bespoke clothing habit."


Bic

Time to try again (this time I'll try not to lose the post).

It's an interesting question. First and foremost, clients want their attorneys to produce a superior work product by the deadline imposed by the client. Appearance is secondary, but I think how secondary depends on the personality of the client. The partners at my old firm who dressed poorly but did well were certainly not wanting for clients. On the other hand, there were some equally successful partners who obviously put a great deal of thought into their wardrobes. Generally (though not universally), the litigators are the better dressers, because they regularly must appear in a public setting.

There are definitely clients out there who expect their lawyers to "look like lawyers." However, this doesn't mean they expect Kiton and Charvet. Brooks Brothers and Lands' End may be sufficient. There are also clients out there who genuinely don't care, especially if those clients dress casually themselves. Remember, law firms would never have gone casual if the clients didn't do it first. The law firms went casual because they didn't want to be the stuffy folks in the conference room. It could hurt the bottom line if the clients felt they couldn't "relate" to their lawyers. If clients suddenly went back to business dress en masse, rest assurred the the law firms would follow suit. The law firms will never be the leaders in this area. They react to what their clients do.

As you state, there are probably also clients out there who don't want to see their lawyers prancing around in $5,000 suits and $15,000 watches. They might feel like they're paying to support their attorney's clothing habit, no matter how excellent the service they're being given is. While I don't think this is true of most clients, lawyers do need to be conscious of this. I find that most lawyers are more low key in how they dress, anyway. Of course, the flashy ones do exist, but I don't think they are the norm.

Generally, I think that most clients care about the quality of service and not the appearance of their attorney. As long as you dress in the style of the accepted dress code at your office, you're probably fine. As I said above, appearance is more important than quality.
post #22 of 32
Does anyone think that great clothes make up for a lousy work product? No.

Does everyone agree that people make judgments, in part, on appearance? Yes.

Even if appearance is secondary, it's equally true that much involved in law and obtaining clients is secondary. Liberty Mutual has been Joe's client for 25years because they like Joe, not because they've performed a dispassionate review of all available attorneys and have selected Joe as the one, single attorney who can defend a slip 'n fall in that jurisdiction.
post #23 of 32
If we are speaking of how we are judged on appearances, I'd say the single most important factor is good grooming. Having a crisp haircut looks infinitely better than an unkempt shaggy dog "do" (pun intended).

Secondly, clothes that fit well and are nicely coordinated count for more than the inherent quality of what you wear. You can look quite good in cheap clothes if they fit well.

The only aspects of quality clothes that I feel help my career are the greater comfort and greater confidence I feel wearing them.

Clothes are no substitute for competence.
post #24 of 32
I think that there is also a element of this - most of us do things that are pretty hard to show results of immidiatly and to everyone in an understandable way. if you are a lawyer, the client is investing a little trust in your ability to produce, certainly in the begining. In my field, both the people in my company, and my customers, are putting a great deal of faith in my ability to provide them with certain results, months or years down the road. they are looking for clues as to my ability to produce what I promise them, and part of these clues are in the way I dress.
post #25 of 32
It is the most important thing.

I mean the only reason to work is to be able to show one's new clothes
post #26 of 32
I think dressing well helps create an appearance that you know what you are doing, however I also feel that dressing well has nothing to do with the brands often listed on this forum, being well dressed is being well dressed whether your outfit costs $200 or $10,000. Generally most of the populace can't tell the difference in brands anyways.
post #27 of 32
I believe that in most suit companies, great dress wont necessarily make you, but bad dress can break you.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology
I think dressing well helps create an appearance that you know what you are doing, however I also feel that dressing well has nothing to do with the brands often listed on this forum, being well dressed is being well dressed whether your outfit costs $200 or $10,000. Generally most of the populace can't tell the difference in brands anyways.

They can't tell the difference in brands, but they're often not quite as dumb as you would think when it comes to judging quality. High-quality jumps-out at people. They might not know what's having an effect on them, but the effect is there. Higher quality cloth is often more lustrous, and the fit is often much improved over cheap stuff.

The best example of this that I can come-up with is comparing Borrelli to Arnold Brant. I've tried-on both and own Borrelli. I look far better in the Borrelli, even though both fit. The Brant jacket is just a shapeless mass and doesn't look good unless I'm standing upright infront of a mirror with my hands at my sides. Even then, the shoulders are less than inspiring... The Borrelli on the other hand... Even if the Brant was done in the finest of cashmeres, I wouldn't draw the compliments that I do with the Borrelli because even to the un-trained eye, one looks a hell of a lot better than the other.

Now is this stuff gonna get me a promotion? No, but it contributes to the perception that I'm an arrogant prick!
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek
They can't tell the difference in brands, but they're often not quite as dumb as you would think when it comes to judging quality. High-quality jumps-out at people. They might not know what's having an effect on them, but the effect is there. Higher quality cloth is often more lustrous, and the fit is often much improved over cheap stuff.

Those are excellent comments.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nantucket Red
If we are speaking of how we are judged on appearances, I'd say the single most important factor is good grooming. Having a crisp haircut looks infinitely better than an unkempt shaggy dog "do" (pun intended).

Secondly, clothes that fit well and are nicely coordinated count for more than the inherent quality of what you wear. You can look quite good in cheap clothes if they fit well.

The only aspects of quality clothes that I feel help my career are the greater comfort and greater confidence I feel wearing them.

Clothes are no substitute for competence.

Research evidence, while not conclusive, suggests that the face is slightly more important than the body. Since, in many situations, the body cannot be too overtly displayed, in practice even more emphasis probably goes on the face. Also, bad hygiene has been shown to be a universal turnoff. So, yes, a case for grooming as most important can be made. Although weak points in any aspect of appearance can spell doom.
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