Today, after I finished putting on my makeup, I went to put on a new blouse I bought for work. When I looked at the finished product, I thought I looked pretty darn good. Yes! Today was a good day. I was feeling skinny, my face was having a good day, my hair looked great, and my new outfit was cute! As I headed out of the locker room, I had a slight bounce to my step (or was that due to my boot?), today was going to be a good day! However, the feeling didn’t last long. As I stepped off on the 10th floor into my office, I realized, “there’s no body here to impress. No one is going to care that I look good today besides D.” Basically, all the time I spend flat ironing my hair, buying cute clothes, and worrying about make up is lost in my office. And my bounce immediately stopped and became a limp (due to my boot, of course).
There are three reasons why anyone would want to look good at work.
1. You have a crush on someone in the office and want to look good for them. This was the case not so long ago, but with OC gone, the eligible bachelors at my office are far and few between. They’re either way too young, are married, are total geeks, or a combination of the above. Pathetic isn’t it? That’s the number one thing I hear from well meaning aunts and friends “Isn’t there anyone at your office.” I usually spit up whatever I’m drinking at the time, or if I’m not drinking, manage to make a very unladylike snort, which probably leaves them thinking that’s the reason I’m still single.
2. You want to look good when you go out for lunch in case you run into another professional cutie. But ever since D and I got on our super healthy kick, we go out to lunch very rarely. We usually bring our lunch and eat our measly salad in our breakroom. When we want a change of scenery, we’ll eat in the Atrium, but usually the meat market there is comprised of middle aged men, usually balding. Also, even if we did see a cute guy and he thought you were too, what’s he going to do about it? Tell his boss and coworkers, “excuse me. I’m going to go over to that girl I don’t know, who is surrounding by her boss and her coworkers, and introduce myself to her and see if she wants to go out on a date with me.” I don’t know why I thought working downtown would be an easy place to find a date.
3. (And probably the most important reason to look good at work). It helps further your career when you’re sharply dressed. You’ve heard the old adage, “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”. While it’s tough to hear that your qualifications aren’t all employers look at, it’s the truth. Your personality, ability to work with others, and overall appearance all play a role.
So, the question is, how much, and to what level, does appearance count? Let’s assume 5 is enough to ensure you’re safe. Your clothes allow your work to be the focus. You look good, put together, and are professional and client ready. Now, the question is, how much more do you get for each step above a 5? For example, is looking a 7 going to give you this same as a 5? As a 10? Or once you’re a 5, is that it? Once you’re to a point where your appearance allows your work speaks for itself, is there no incentive to look any better? If that’s the case, what’s the bare minimum I need? What is the point where anything above does not pay dividends? What constitutes a 5? Could I get away with just a smear of mascara? Is someone wearing a tapered leg suit getting the same respect as me with my suit with the most current leg cut just because we both look “put together”? I guess no matter how smart and a good worker someone is, if they look like a homeless bum, people aren’t going to take them serious. Once you’re to a point to be taken serious, is that it? No more is needed? So, therefore, what’s the point of looking good, when looking average will suffice? Think of all the money I could save if I never had to buy new work clothes!
4. Yes, I know I said there was only 4, but as I was writing this, it dawned on me, that I don’t really get dressed up for people at my work. I do it for myself. I feel good about myself when I know I look good. Therefore, I have a more positive attitude and am more confident which translates into a positive vibe in both into my professional and personal life. And that’s enough for me! So, I guess despite all the reasons to not care, I’ll continue with my current habits. And who knows, you never know when that cute brown haired boy in the building next door will notice me!