Dress for Success, to Impress, and to Express

Dress for Success, to Impress, and to Express

I would never sit across from a client wearing cut-offs and a muscle T. At the same time, I would never sit across from a client wearing a polyester, double-breasted, four-button suit, but for different reasons. On one hand, most would be in agreement that the first example would not be professional; however, I think its safe to say that most would say that a suit is appropriate attire for the workplace, and I would agree, there is just one problem – it’s not me. There are many styles of clothing of dress that are appropriate for the workplace, and I have found a style that works for me, and is professional.

While the topic of what one wears to work may seem somewhat trivial – and I would agree to a certain degree that in the grand scheme of things it may be, but what I am getting at here is actually a part of a larger area of personal/professional development. I might be a professional (in-development), but I also have a personality that both my professional and personal self have in common. Learning to navigate this balance is an important aspect of development and growth that many graduate students are faced with.

Moving on beyond what I wear to work, there are many aspects of who I am as a person that I navigate across my personal and professional life. For example, even as I write for this blog, I am intentional of what aspects of my life that I share in a public way, such as race/ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual practices, etc. I cannot speak for others, I can only speak from my own experiences, but for me what I chose and what I do not choose to discuss, disclose, or share in a professional setting does not feel like a denial of who I am that I cannot tolerate. At the same time, there are aspects of myself that are salient and important to me, and I cannot – or choose not to – keep completely separated from my professional life. Again, I would like to reemphasizes is that this is what works for me, and the balance between personal and professional identity works for me – only you can know what works best for you.

While some might say that I may not be your typical professional – and I intentionally say that in a vague sense we all are unique individuals and in our own beautiful way are uniquely atypical – and at the same time I can walk side by side with my colleagues in the same professional settings – I just do it in purple suede Oxfords, and it works for me.

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Series on the Grad School Applicat...
Same School for Undergraduate and Graduate School?...
 

Comments 4

efox on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 09:33

Agreed! Have you ever run into complaints or criticism for sporting your style? Or on the other side, do you get lots of positive feedback?

1
Agreed! Have you ever run into complaints or criticism for sporting your style? Or on the other side, do you get lots of positive feedback?
JohnM on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:31

In general, I believe that the feedback that I mostly get has been generally positive. But for me, I have to feel comfortable, genuine, and true to myself as a person for me to feel as though I can be an effective therapist. I have had comments about wearing "loud" outfits, but I take them mostly as compliments.

0
In general, I believe that the feedback that I mostly get has been generally positive. But for me, I have to feel comfortable, genuine, and true to myself as a person for me to feel as though I can be an effective therapist. I have had comments about wearing "loud" outfits, but I take them mostly as compliments.
zmirtsching on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:51

This is an interesting point of view. In business school we have always been told to wear dark suits, white shirts, and minimal jewelry. And as a woman, I am also advised to wear hose - which I believe to be a completely archaic and ridiculous practice - at least to interviews. Hopefully wherever we work we will have the option to express ourselves

0
This is an interesting point of view. In business school we have always been told to wear dark suits, white shirts, and minimal jewelry. And as a woman, I am also advised to wear hose - which I believe to be a completely archaic and ridiculous practice - at least to interviews. Hopefully wherever we work we will have the option to express ourselves
JohnM on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:32

I totally agree that there are schemas or levels of dressed that our deemed appropriate for the work place - I still like to have fun with it.

0
I totally agree that there are schemas or levels of dressed that our deemed appropriate for the work place - I still like to have fun with it.

PhDStudent