Killing it in My Comfy Clothes

Dear Dr. Lisa:

I am feeling some kinda way about a conversation my manager and I just had. She shared with me that my work remains excellent, but my dress is not the best. She said it looks thrown together and if I want to get to the next level, I need to put more effort in my presentation. Outside of feeling a little hurt and offended, I was mad. We have a dress down policy and it’s true I don’t put a lot of energy into my clothes but neither do a lot of people! And shouldn’t this all be about the work and not the look? I feel like I should say something back to her but I am not sure what to say…


Killing it in My Comfy Clothes


Dear Killing it in My Comfy Clothes:

I understand your feelings, but setting those aside for a moment, I think your manager did you a favor. She told you the truth – if you want advancement, your presentation does matter. You have to think of it as a complete package. Not only is it about your work, but how you present yourself. Do you have the same confidence in a dentist who has large amounts of plaque on the teeth? Do you have the same confidence in a tax preparer whose office is in complete disarray? Maybe, but the deal is that presentation communicates values. If you don’t care enough to clean your office, do I feel confident you care enough to not lose my papers? It’s a fair question.

Leaders influence by how they make others feel. Your personal presentation will influence greatly how others see you. Check out the presentation of senior leaders in your organization. Do they dress comfy? I’m not going to tell you how to feel, but I am going to suggest that you should decide on what you want. If you want advancement, heed your manager’s call out. If you don’t care about that and want to stay comfy, it sounds like the policy allows for that.

I would leave you with the idea that your manager cared enough to actually tell you. I am betting that was hard because dress is so personal. To me that suggests she sees your work and full potential and wants to support you in advancing. Don’t spent too much time being mad – just decide.

Now get clear and go be great!

Dr. Lisa

P.S. Your theme song is, “You Wear It Well” by DeBarge.



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