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Am I Too Picky About Business Dress?

by Mary Emma Allen on May 21st, 2008


As I sat in the airport watching passengers deplane or hurry along the concourse toward their gates, I wondered at the state of dress these days. Even people who obviously were carrying business briefcases or computer bags seemed to delight in baggy sweatshirts and jeans with holes.

Yes, there were a number in business dress, either professional or dressy casual. However, so many seemed dressed in drab colors and tattered clothes. Gone are the days, when I was growing up, that whenever we left the farm, we got out of our jeans and overalls and wore something neat and without holes. (I even see teachers in farmer’s overalls at a school where I substitute teach. And they’re not teaching agricultural classes.)

Dress for Home Business

When we work at home, our customers don’t see us unless we have a walk-in shop or meet with them in person. They don’t know if we’re in our jammies, skivvies or dressed in suit and tie. Does attire affect one’s attitude toward work?  Or customers’ regard about our ability?

Of course, if you produce something that requires handling materials that can damage clothing, “work” clothes are a necessity.

Am I Outdated?

Is my concept toward business dress outdated, a product of my generation, unrealistic, a reflection on how I feel about myself? I admit I feel better when I take time to get out of my bathrobe to work at my computer and wear clothes that are coordinated and of one piece, not ragged with holes.

Insight from a Daycare Provider

I found Debbie Yost’s guest post, Appearances Do Matter , very enlightening.  Debbie also reinforces my opinion, for she thinks appearances make a difference and gives insight into why the daycare provider needs to be concerned about this.

How about you?  What do you think about business dress? ©2008 Mary Emma Allen

Tags: airport, , , , , home business dress, , work at home, work from home

POSTED IN: Home Business Opportunities, Personal Experience, Trends

4 opinions for Am I Too Picky About Business Dress?

  • Debbie Yost
    May 21, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Mary Emma,
    Have you ever watched What Not to Wear or 10 Years Younger. In both these shows the person gets a makeover and almost every single time they say they have more confidence because of the clothes they are wearing. Even if you are a SAHM I believe it is makes a difference in how you feel if you feel good about yourself. Your job as a mom is not less important that the “working” woman. I challenge people to give it a test. I’m sure they will feel a difference in how they do their job, whatever that job is. On the weekends I even get up, shower, dress and put on a little make-up. I feel more productive, and take better care of my children, when I do this. When I don’t I seem to lay around watching t.v. all day.

  • Anne Wayman
    May 21, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Mary, suspect this may be one of those mileage will vary issues… when I dress up to work at home I feel not only uncomfortable but a bit stupid because I’m overdressed. Jeans or shorts, tshirt or sweatshirt, clean, and probably untorn, bare feet, hair combed… fit to answer the door but not to go to lunch in a fancy restaurant… that’s how I do my best work. It’s not one size fits all, so to speak.

  • Laura Spencer
    May 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I don’t necessarily dress up as though I’m going in to the office, but I do like to be clean and dressed when I work. No working in pajamas for me!

  • Mary Emma Allen
    May 22, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Thanks, Debbie, Anne and Laura for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. It’s so interesting to get the various opinions about business dress, home business dress, work-at-home dress,etc. It’s not a “one size fits all.” And I find I can work/write at home in anything I wear. If I’m not expecting to meet the public that day or have a messy job at home between writing stints, I not going to be dressed professionally. But I do feel better and more productive if I’m presentable if someone happens to pop in. I’d rather not be wearing torn, tattered, and soiled clothes…unless they caught me scrubbing the floor, working in the garden or cleaning the garage. (If I happen to pass the mirror in the course of the day, I prefer not to be scared by the person looking back at me.)

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