Judging a book, or a person, by its cover

Does appearance matter in business? The 2 Per-Specht-ives Podcast sees Hosts David and Joshua Specht give a multi-generation approach to whether leniency in dress and appearance standards is a good thing.

Your generational lesson: The care you take and effort you put into your appearance affects how you show up for work.

Your Gen. X Advice: You have to make a conscious decision of what you want your appearance to be based upon your goals. 

Your Gen. Z Advice: It is your decision about your appearance, and once set in that appearance then you can’t turn defensive when judged by others beliefs on appearance.

No matter whether you’re a jeans guy or a khakis guy, it’s clear that appearance standards have been relaxed. Even a decade ago, a job applicant with blue hair or an arm sleeve of tattoos would have been laughed out of the building. 

Even Dave’s standards have adapted. For years, he dressed in khakis, a polo or button up shirt, and casual dress shoes. During COVID-19 lockdown, those standards dropped to shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Now, there’s a medium balance between jeans, sneakers and a long sleeve shirt. 

Josh argues that this effort to find your own standard is important because appearance has a huge impact on you as a person. Our appearance affects us emotionally and mentally because not taking that time to invest in your appearance has an element of not caring about yourself.

The pair highlight the fact that everyone judges others. In business, sometimes your age and that appearance can create a judgement against you, or for you. 

For example, if you have a “baby face” then that can mean you’re judged negatively on your experience and/or skill. Or an older person who dresses more casual can create approachability to the younger workforce coming through businesses now.

That is why they say it’s crucial to dress for the situation — look at where you work, what you’re doing that day, and who you’re seeing

In the world of business, in order to build relationships and be taken seriously, you want others to view you as a step above in professionalism.