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Men’s style guide: 3 ways to dress for a more productive workday

09 November 2019
Shane McGourty

You’ve probably heard the term ‘dress for success’, but do you know how to do it? Here, Christopher Legard, Managing Director of men’s fashion retailer Joseph Turner gives his top tips to help you dress for a more productive workday.

Whether you’ve finished your job hunt and you’re starting your career, or you’re beginning to feel a productivity slump in your current role, what you wear to work is important. Your clothing choices can influence your mood and work ethic, which means you may want to put a little more thought into what you wear to get the most out of your workday.

Below, I’ll be going through some of the things you should consider when creating the perfect outfit for work.

The best dress code is no dress code

A 2016 survey by technical workwear retailer Stormline found that an enforced dress code could put people off working for an employer. 61% of respondents stated that a dress code would make them feel negatively about a business, and the same number expressed that they would be more productive and happier at work if they were allowed to dress the way they wanted. And, with companies like Marks & Spencer cutting down on their formalwear ranges due to a lower demand for suits, it’s clear that modern workers and employers alike are preferring a more casual work wardrobe (The Guardian).

So, ultimately, the best dress code is one you feel comfortable in. Perhaps you think more creatively in a casual outfit, like a jumper, jeans and trainers. However, you might feel like you can focus more in business-casual, like a button-down shirt, chinos and brogues. Experiment a little to work out what kind of outfit works best for you.

Choose activity-boosting colours

But there’s more to productivity than just feeling comfortable in your clothing, as some studies have shown that certain colours are better at boosting productivity in the workplace compared to others. For example, research conducted by Sevinc Kurt and Kelechi Kingsley Osueke on the psychological effects of colour on college students states that blue is considered an intellectual colour, boosting brain activity, reason and logical thought. It’s also considered a calming colour, so a blue shirt could be a good option if you’re working an office job that requires focus and logical thinking, like accounting.

Alternatively, if you work in a more creative industry, like marketing, yellow and orange is thought to enhance your creative thinking. So, you could consider wearing these colours to work or using one as an accent colour to complement the blue.

Because it’s a colour that symbolises ‘go’, green is believed to encourage a sense of determination, so it’s another great colour to wear to work. Plus, the hue doesn’t strain your eyes as much as other colours, so it’s ideal if you work in front of a computer all day.

Build a workwear capsule wardrobe

When you get up each morning, you don’t want to be wasting time going through your wardrobe looking for something to wear. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, has stated that he wears the same casual outfits every day, as this gives him one less thing to think about and gives him more time to spend on important business decisions (Business Insider). So, take inspiration from Zuckerberg and invest in a couple of stylish staples that you can mix and match for any workday.

If you’re a fan of business-casual, like Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, your work capsule wardrobe should include:

  • Five to six button-down shirts in your preferred colour;
  • A few pairs of chinos or smart dress trousers;
  • A jumper;
  • A smart blazer for business meetings;
  • A pair of smart shoes, like brogues.

For a more casual dress code, like the one worn by CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey, your capsule wardrobe should include:

  • Five to six T-shirts or polos in your preferred colour;
  • A few pairs of jeans in different washes;
  • A jumper, sweatshirt or rugby shirt;
  • A pair of casual shoes like trainers, loafers or deck shoes

Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll be dressing for success in no time!