Dress for Success

I recently had the opportunity to meet a manager of a memory care unit in a nursing home facility.  I will not mention where or who this individual is, but I had to mention what my impressions of this individual were.  When I walked into our meeting, I was shocked to see how this individual was dressed.  She was wearing leather leggings, 5-inch heels and a crop top.  She looked like she was ready to go to a club or bar-hopping with her friends, not head up a professional meeting or be at a professional job.  It made it very difficult for me to give her the attention and professional courtesy that her position warranted.

This meeting caused me to spend some time thinking about the things that that we choose to wear.  I hear a lot of talk about people wearing what they want and dressing in ways that make them feel comfortable and express their individual identity.  I am all for that, to a point.  I don’t think people should have to wear business suits every day, for example, but by the same token, I do think that clothing and style choices should be appropriate to the situation.  This woman had the freedom to wear what she had on, and though I was an outfit that I never would have picked for myself, was fine for her if that is what she was comfortable wearing.  However, her position was a professional one that brought with it exposure to residents, families, medical professionals, administrators, and others who would all form their impression of this individual partly on what they saw.

Someone once told me to dress for the position I want.  Taking care to look professional for a professional role, I think, is important and says something about you.  It says that you have common sense, that you have respect for your position and for the expectations of others.  It portrays confidence and competence.  If you have a nice pair of slacks and a cute top on, versus tight leggings and a crop top, it affects how others see you and treat you.  It can even have an effect in your ability to do your job well.

This might be a “no duh” post to a degree, but I think that the fact that I met this professional very recently means that maybe it needs to be said out loud.  Just food for thought…