polo mansion nyc Wardrobe Conscious Job Success May Hang On What Clothes People Wear
Take the case of the young, ambitious executive on the corporate fast track at Florida Power Light Co. a few years ago. Astrid Pfeiffer, FPLs corporate secretary, said the executive always wore a conservative three piece suit, apparently trying to send a signal that he had what it took to manage the huge utility.
There was a joke going around that he even took a shower in it, Pfeiffer said.
The suit apparently paid off. Pfeiffer says the man is now one of FPLs top executives.
The FPL executive was simply observing the cardinal rule of dressing in the white collar world dont be distracting. Be safe, be understated, you can even be a dull dresser especially if youre a man. But dont let what you wear get in the way of what you say.
All clothes make a statement, Pfeiffer said. They can lie, but they make a statement.
Women also have to worry about what they say with their clothes.
You can be fashionable, you can be chic, said Marilyn Godsey Kay, one of the partners in Godsey Nye Promotions in Fort Lauderdale. There are a lot of things you can be, but you cannot be sexy at all.
A womans hair color might even be a factor. Gail Butler, in charge of communications at Citizens and Southern Corp. of Florida, said theres an occupational hazard for a blonde female.
Ive had people, some of my peers, tell me Ill never get anywhere in the corporate world as long as Im a blonde, and when I hear that I just have to draw the line, Butler said.
Butler said there are some things she just wont do, such as darken her hair.
Most American men have the opposite problem, Pfeiffer said.
Men dont even try to be sexy, she said. They all look like lumps.
Stanley Barnett calls it that drab look. Barnett, who owns three Polo/ Ralph Lauren stores in South Florida, said he just returned from a trip to Italy and noticed how businessmen in Italy dress more fashionably than Americans and probably always will. Barnett said American businessmen have never been imaginative about their wardrobes.
They dont want to stand out in business,
Barnett said. I dont think youre going to see that kind of attitude change.
Some business people have almost no attitude about the way they dress.
Tom Gruber, a senior vice president at Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. in Fort Lauderdale, says he looks at the suit shirt and tie question as a pretty much of a necessary evil. So he usually wears a white button down shirt, a dark suit and a modest tie. Gruber said he longs for the simpler days when he wore a uniform in the Army.
You didnt have to debate what you were going to wear that day, Gruber said. It was a choice between khaki and green.
For women, the choice is between a suit or a dress or some combination thereof. You cannot miss in a suit, said Roberta Nye, Kays partner in Godsey Nye Promotions.
None of the women interviewed said they would wear slacks to work. Butler at C said that she used to wear slacks occasionally when working in Washington, but that its too hot to wear pants in Florida.
Butler said she wears suits and dresses, often adding accessories such as scarves and jewelry.
Women might not wear pants, but many dress like men in other ways, wearing suits and solid color shirts with ties. Claudia Richards, manager of the Strictly Business womens store in Fort Lauderdale, said her best selling items last year were suits made by menswear manufacturers such as Cricketeer.
Richards said sales at the store this year show that business womens preferences are shifting to a softer look, buying more separate pieces such as skirts, blouses and scarves.
Nevertheless, she said women in Fort Lauderdale dress more formally than in Miami, where Strictly Business also has a store.
Theres still a lot of those IBM people here who wear the dark gray and navy pinstripes and the white cotton blouses and foulard ties, Richards said.
Men and women who are strictly business about dressing, such as Marilyn Godsey Kay, say they often buy classic investment pieces for their wardrobe.
For Tom Green, publisher of Playbill magazine in Miami, the classic mens wardrobe needs to have at least five different suits: medium gray, dark gray pinstripes, navy blue,
glen plaid and taupe.