The arrival of the office festive season is not a free pass to start rocking business shorts to work. Nor is it a nod to hitting on that cute HR lady. A true gentleman never drops his game even on the very last day of the working calendar.
Today we present to you the simple steps to cultivating a positive workplace style and keeping that suave reputation of yours intact in the office. We can’t guarantee you a promotion, but we can make sure you’ll be punching above your weight.
#1 Have A Signature Scent
A man’s own scent is just as important as his clothes. We’re not talking about leaving your pheromones on every cubicle wall. Instead pick a subtle fragrance that isn’t too common and overpowering, and use it to build your office presence in a pleasant manner. Whether you’re in a lift or in a meeting, it’ll ensure you’re putting the right foot forward for being noticed.
Note: Banana Republic’s Creative Director Simon Kneen once told Forbes that “I don’t wear a fragrance to work. But I do think a modest scent is O.K. I do really believe in signature fragrances though. I have been wearing the same fragrance for 25 years.”
#2 Correct Your Posture
Too many years spent hunched over your PC playing DOOM has likely diminished your body’s natural posture. It’s now time to fix it. A bad posture emanates the wrong message in an office environment, making you appear run down and unfit for the job – not a good look if it’s only 10 a.m. Put your back into it. Sit up straight, get yourself a decent ergonomic chair, see a physio if you must and ride the wave of perceived success until the day’s end.
#3 Eye Contact Is Everything
If you got down on one knee and asked your partner to marry you whilst looking at their feet, do you think they’d say yes? Possibly – if you both had a foot fetish. But the point is, maintaining eye contact assures that the party you’re engaging with is taking you seriously. Compulsive liars tend to avoid eye contact and when you’re about to shake on a multi-million dollar deal, this is the last impression you want to be giving off. So project your voice adequately and maintain eye contact with your subjects. It’s called respect.
#4 Never Neglect The Shoes
Many men still believe that a good suit will excuse a bad pair of shoes. This is not the way of the Magnificent Bastard. The daily wear and tear will diminish even the nicest pair of work shoes so always keep them in check and out of the rain in order to look your best. See our guide on how to shine your shoes like a real man for maintenance and if you’re unsure as to what qualifies as a fine pair of work shoes, see our pick of the five most affordable and best looking dress shoes. Once you’ve chosen your weapon, learn how to style them correctly with your clothes.
#5 Work On Your Accessories Collection
In some parts of the corporate world, men’s accessories such as ties, pocket squares and subtle jewellery get frowned upon by colleagues. This often stems from the casualisation of the work space where well-dressed men today are perceived as power hungry, attention-seeking fiends (also met with snide remarks of “you going for a job interview, mate?”.
We disagree with this movement and believe that keeping things simple yet stylish goes a long way in building your personal career profile. The right people will notice you along with those who don’t matter. So play up the average pastel shirt and dark grey suit with a bit more punch. Add a nice pocket square or a tie bar and be careful never to overdo it. The key is to stand out from the crowd by not looking like a walking dressing table.
#6 Be Careful With Colour
Similarly, colour can be your friend and your worst enemy in the office so play it with absolute caution. Studies have shown that wearing colour can lead to pay rises and promotions as it emanates a degree of authority and confidence. We must stress to keep things restrained though.
Think a brighter tie or dress shirt as opposed to a full blown clown suit. What you also want to avoid is being more ‘colourful’ than your superiors. Remember your goal is to stand out from the crowd, not take away attention from your boss.
#7 Maintain Your Facial Hair
Facial hair is one of the most natural ways a man can make a good impression in the workplace. The catch? Maintaining it to respectable standards is also the hardest part. Depending on the workplace, the traditional office is often not a place for the popular hipster beard.
A clean, crisp suit also won’t help much in masking this distraction so if you do intend to rock facial hair, keep the stubble short and clean to avoid the boyish look. A light beard is also fine as it projects a degree of maturity and authority in the workplace. Think Tony Stark minus the cockiness. See our guide on how to do it right.
#8 Go For Quality
This is a general rule across the board that applies to everything from suiting to shoes to men’s grooming products and accessories. We’re not talking about wearing loudly branded clothing, it’s more about feeling comfortable in your own clothes through quality. The better the quality of the thread, the more likely it is you’ll perform at your peak at work. It’s an obvious point but often overlooked for cheaper alternatives. Ever wanted to shake hands with that sweaty polyester guy in the lift? Neither have we.
#9 Hygiene Is Prime
Personal hygiene is not only important in the workplace, it’s something every man needs to be accountable for. Start off by clipping those finger nails. No client wants to shake hands with you if you’re rocking grubby long finger nails or worse, the lone extended pinky nail. If you’re prone to sweating, shower in the morning before heading to work or leaving the gym. There’s nothing worse than the odour of men’s sweat masked by clothing masked by a lathering of cologne.
#10 Let Others Take The Lead
Last but not least, let the authority fall to those who are calling the shots. If you’re new to a workplace, let those who are more respected set the example of fashion and attitude first and be sure not to diverge too far from that standard. It’s the key to integrating into any new workplace culture and could form the building blocks to your own reputation amongst peers.