Dress The Part

by Bonnie Kallenberg

Looking the part. Being taken seriously. It’s a real thing.

I recently watched an episode of “Call the Midwife” on Netflix (something I’m currently binge-watching), and looking the part was important. One of the main characters, a highly regarded midwife chose to become receptionist to the doctor she married so she could support him in his role. While she was still a trained nurse and midwife, she dressed to fit her new role and not in a nurse’s uniform.

One day the clinic was packed, her husband the doctor was quite ill and she took the reigns to keep the clinic open for the days he would be out. There was one nurse and her to see many patients and she divided the group between the 2 of them. All the patients wanted to be seen by the nurse in a uniform, not trusting that the woman in regular clothing was truly a nurse. It was a frustrating day for everyone so that night, the receptionist reclaimed one of her old nurses’ uniforms to wear. The next day went smoothly as patients were assured of her competence because she was dressed in a way that they expected.

Are you dressing to be taken seriously at your job? Does your wardrobe match your credentials and your aspirations? If you want to move up the ranks is it evident in your wardrobe choices? Do you look the part? It’s a real thing.

And it depends on the industry you are in.

My son works for Apple in their fancy new headquarters in Silicon Valley. In his department they all wear jeans, t shirts and sneakers on most days. Call it the “engineers’ uniform” if you will because it signifies what he does and how well he does it.

During job interviews for positions at Finders Keepers I’m often asked about our dress code. Our dress code is “to look professionally fashionable and cute” because we sell gently used “fashion-ables” for women and men. I’m always looking for people who like fashion and people and who want to work up the ladder into management. But they have to look the part to be taken seriously.

It’s a real thing.


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