Q With my company's growth, my department has just split in two and I was promoted to manager of one of those halves. Obviously, I'm pleased, and feel that my accomplishments are based on who I am, but also realize I may need a bit more professionalism. Specifically I am thinking of my clothing choices. I usually have a bit of cowboy in my look: boots, bolos, belts and usually jeans. How can I keep my individuality and still be business appropriate?
A A manager can dress more individually and more professionally than those under him ... but remember you are also under others. It is not necessary to abandon all of your own personal style elements, but do show that you are a team player by following your company's corporate culture. Also keep in mind that one of the roles of a manager is to set a good example.
Whether you wear jeans depends entirely on your field and your company. If all of the bosses in your office wear jeans and chinos, then certainly jeans would be part of acceptable office attire. But if suits are part of a common or standard dress code in your business environment, then I recommend you would be wise, as a new manager, to avoid the whole jeans idea altogether. Still, between these two dress extremes of jeans and suits, is a vast array of business-appropriate clothing that includes khakis, dress pants, blazers, sports jackets and sweater dressing -- all of which allow you to express various elements of your own distinctive style without being overly limited.
Regarding the southwestern look (when you are not actually in the Southwest), my advice is to incorporate one element or, at the most, two. So, for example, occasionally wearing cowboy boots and perhaps a not too eye-catching Western belt buckle or maybe a Western hat is as far as you should go. Combining too many "theme" items takes your look into the borderline costume realm and away from a professional appearance.
An old how-to-dress-well saying: When you break one rule, deliberately and elegantly, that is dressing with distinction. When you break several, you are seen as a person who just doesn't know the rules.
There are so many handsome ways to stand out from the crowd whether or not you are a part of management. Regular readers of this column know that I encourage men to develop an individual style of their own. One of my favorite ways is to use color well. Make it work for you. Another is to be impeccably well groomed. So few men do, that it will not go unnoticed. Still another is to select a well-edited group of fine quality accessories and incorporate them as part of your everyday look.
Not every man needs to make an effort to be noticed. A lot of men prefer to wear clothes that blend into the crowd. On the other hand, if being a standout is the path for you, fine, as long as you exercise restraint. Don't risk being thought of as an exhibitionist. You can do your thing, and do it well.
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High Profile on 02/04/2018
Print Headline: Going slightly Western OK for stylish manager