I took a trip to Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago and visited a partnered company of ours. In it, I met all the employees, who were all great people. The office dress code is business casual, meaning, decent shoes, a pair of khakis or dress pants, and a button down shirt (for men). There were a total of 8 or so workers in the office, but one man particularly stood out to me. My immediate impression of him was that he was a top salesmen (placement agent), made more money than everyone else, and aside from the boss, he had the most authority in the office. “Why?” you ask… The guy was dressed impeccably better than everyone else in the office. He wore elegant, tailored clothing, a shirt and tie, polished shoes, and enjoyed suiting up as opposed to looking like everyone else.
Just because the dress code in your office is casual, does not mean you can’t be better than casual. Be better than casual! Wear your sport coats and suits, wear ties when they are not needed, keep a pocket square in your bag at all times, wear those awesome socks you just bought, tailor your clothing, lint brush yourself before you leave, read J Norman Post, and in doing such, get yourself to dress, feel, and look the way you are more than capable of doing! Yes, you are going to feel uncomfortable the first time you do it. Yes, you are going to stand out the first time you do it. But know this: Your discomfort will turn into confidence and you will be standing out for all the right reasons!!!
I am so sick of advising people how to dress in the office and they simply won’t listen to me because they are scared of change! I have a friend who’s name I will leave anonymous who has a very nice wardrobe, and is one of few men who will spend a lot of money on this particular wardrobe, but doesn’t utilize it at work. If you are like my infamous subject, stop buying 20 pairs of shoes, and invest in a few sport coats and tailored suits. And most importantly, wear them! Even if you are too nervous to wear a suit, there are other ways to dress it up, while still remaining casual (like so):
Remember though, a suit or jacket can still be causal:
I really, truly do understand that you literally feel like you cannot do it. You work with 2,000 people and literally all of them dress the exact same. Well, here’s some news and advice: Trend setting is a very admirable trait/act that very few people are able to conquer. Most men and women simply follow the yellow brick road in their wardrobes and often times in their daily activities. I’m here screaming to you, to be different, to let yourself stand out for the right reasons, to try and look good because it will make you feel good.