Dress for success at work and home

Home Column Dress for success at work and home

By Lisbeth Calandrino

The other day I took off my mask briefly and someone said, “You have lipstick on. Why? No one is going to see it, and it stains your mask anyway.”

The person was right; no one is going to see my face under my mask but me. And I guess that’s precisely the point.

I did a Zoom training session the other day and one of the guys gleefully told me he was wearing his pajama bottoms instead of pants. I’ve also read that the purchase of high heels is down 90%—presumably because more businesswomen are working remotely and don’t feel the need to dress up.

People work from home in their pajamas and then wear the same ones to bed. Sometimes they don’t change their clothes or wash their hair for days. Others can’t even remember what day it is. Is it possible that dressing like a slouch can negatively impact your productivity or your self-esteem? Some say yes. There are studies out there that draw parallels between following the ritual of getting dressed for work and overall productivity—even when working from home.

I understand this firsthand. From day one of the pandemic, I really had nothing to do. All training and classes were canceled. My phone stopped ringing and I was basically alone without my customers who I love. This was before the Zoom revolution when we started doing everything online.

During this time, I tried not to deviate from my exercise routine, even without being able to go to the gym. I set my alarm to wake up, got out of bed, showered and dressed even though I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I find I just feel better when I get dressed. I love high heels, so I started wearing them around the house. I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll forget how to walk in them when it’s time to get back out there. Basically, my motto is “business as usual.”

You feel how you look

According to research conducted by Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire in England, people admitted equating their clothes with their attitude. “If I’m in casual clothes, I relax, but if I dress up for a meeting or special occasion, it can alter the way I walk and hold myself,” the thought process goes.

Although it may seem insignificant, your choice of clothes has a lot to do with how you feel and act. If you were going to a board meeting, it’s doubtful you would show up in your pajama bottoms even if the dress code was casual. There are still plenty of businesses out there that require jackets and ties. In my travels to flooring stores around the country, I noticed many sales reps still dress up.

Getting dressed to go to work—even if you’re still working remotely or traveling less frequently during the pandemic—might seem insignificant, but it’s not. It can have a tremendous impact on your self-esteem and keep you in the right frame of mind. Maintaining a regular schedule also keeps you regulated in terms of your body clock. We’ve known for years that not sticking to a routine sleep schedule can disrupt your biological clock or, worse, negatively impact your immune system. I’ve read that even our pets—which are by creatures of habit by nature—are confused as to why mommy or daddy is home all the time.

Bottom line: Try to maintain some sense of normalcy during a time when everything is any- thing but normal. Experts believe it can go a long way in helping us all cope both personally and professionally.


Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Oct. 26/Nov. 2, 2020

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