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The Conference Room: What not to wear?

by Michelle Spevak
Jacket and tie—or jeans and T-shirt? Appearance matters when it comes to an interview, but when it comes to everyday office wear, opinions vary. Some argue that what you wear to work can affect your work ethic, while others note that impressing clients is paramount. Two local execs share their takes on the dress code.

Emily Lamboy (pictured, left), creative director, Kronos Technologies, Collingswood
“We’ve always kept our work attire casual. We are in our early 30s, my husband Mark Lamboy owns the company, and we really just felt more comfortable being more casual— whereas, if you’re sitting there in a uncomfortable outfit, you’re just thinking, ‘I want to relax and get home and change out of these clothes.’ Thanks to our casual dress code, we feel like our employees are happier, more productive and more loyal, even if it’s subconscious—and perks like allowing employees to wear jeans to work or to dress casually cost the employer nothing. What casual dress does for your turnover rate and your bottom line, I just feel that it makes a really big difference, and it’s one of those things you may just not realize the significance of. Of course, there are times when casual clothes aren’t appropriate, like client meetings or marketing events—but about 90 percent of the time, we or our employees know ahead of time that these meetings are happening, so dressing professionally that day isn’t a problem.”

Harry Scheye (pictured, right), principal, Pinnacle Financial Advisors, Marlton
“The principals dress in business attire: shirt, tie and jack­et, but not suits. It’s business casual for everyone else; on Fridays, everybody is business casual. For the principal members, we dress in business attire because we want to present a professional image to our clients, who are families and some business owners. We think that’s very important, because it implies that we are serious about what we do. We don’t want them to think we’re casual about our advice or the wealth management we provide for them. Moreover, it’s actually more productive for us knowing that we’re going to dress up—it requires less thinking. When you’re casual you have many choices, so this is actually easier. For our staff, we want them to be comfortable and productive, and they all agree that a business casual dress code helps in that regard, even though the front office has more of a formal business casual code—no jeans or open shoes—because the clients do see them.”

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 1, Issue 2 (February, 2011).
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