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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I start a new job on Monday, October 13 -- I will be a Sales Executive for a Information Services firm.

My new boss has interviewed me three times--always in "Business Casual''--nice shirt and trousers.

However, I prefer to sell to potential customers in a suit and necktie.

Should I obey the maxim "Never dress better than your boss?", or follow my own instincts as to appropriate attire.

BTW, I am the only Sales Executive at my level in the organization (small company), so I can't take any cues from associates.

Your thoughts, gentlemen?


--Chase
 

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During interviews, it's always fine to dress up one notch above the boss or other people in the office. (You're trying to impress)

Once hired, however, you want to wear what is considered appropriate by everyone else in the office. So if everyone is casual, probably shouldn't come in wearing a full 3-piece suit. That doesn't mean there's no room for being more stylish than your boss. You can do it without showing him up or being overdressed. You just have to be more subtle and consider the fabrics and tailoring of what you're wearing. Business casual often looks disheveled, but it can look clean and stylish with right choices.

Just an opinion. What does everyone else think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
During interviews, it's always fine to dress up one notch above the boss or other people in the office. (You're trying to impress)

Once hired, however, you want to wear what is considered appropriate by everyone else in the office. So if everyone is casual, probably shouldn't come in wearing a full 3-piece suit. That doesn't mean there's no room for being more stylish than your boss. You can do it without showing him up or being overdressed. You just have to be more subtle and consider the fabrics and tailoring of what you're wearing. Business casual often looks disheveled, but it can look clean and stylish with right choices.

Just an opinion. What does everyone else think?
I appreciate your thoughts. Perhaps I should have been clearer--I think as a Sales Executive, it is imperative that I wear a suit and necktie when calling on prospective customers. After all, image is extraordinary important in sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Isn't proper grammar as well?

Sorry - just feeling a bit snarky.
Point taken, Pentheos--I shoulda proofed before I posted!

Thanks for setting me straight--Chase. :icon_smile_wink:
 

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I was an intern at an engineering firm and not only outdressed all the full time engineers, I outdressed the managers and the plant manager. They didn't like ties, but I did.

I think it is more important to wear what makes you comfortable. After a couples weeks everyone just expected it, and it was just me being me.

If you're not doing it to show people up, I don't see a problem.
 

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If you're in sales, your boss is going to appreciate one thing above all else: your numbers. As long as you're dressing appropriatly for the industry you're in, and for the customers you're meeting with I'm sure your boss won't care.

I'm in a similar situation: my boss, in south Florida, always dresses in business casual. I'm in in an area where my accounts tend to be a little dressier so I always wear a suit. The only thing I make sure I don't do is overdress if we have a joint meeting with an account so as to not make anyone think I'm 'showing him up'.
 

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When dealing with clients, a suit is a must and I'm sure your boss would concur. Business casual appears to be the unfortunate uniform of your office, but that doesn't have to mean a polo shirt. Get some nice jackets, tailored dress shirts, good dress slacks. Still follows the rules, but you could throw on a tie if necessary or desirable. It's not a suit, technically, and counts as business casual. It depends on the dynamics of your office, but I never dress down for my boss. If he doesn't look as good as me, shame on him, not me.

BT
 

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When dealing with clients, a suit is a must and I'm sure your boss would concur. Business casual appears to be the unfortunate uniform of your office, but that doesn't have to mean a polo shirt. Get some nice jackets, tailored dress shirts, good dress slacks. Still follows the rules, but you could throw on a tie if necessary or desirable. It's not a suit, technically, and counts as business casual. It depends on the dynamics of your office, but I never dress down for my boss. If he doesn't look as good as me, shame on him, not me.

BT
I don't dress down for my boss, either; but my boss doesn't care. I think it's important to dress in what is comfortable for you. For me, I'd feel inappropriately dressed if I didn't wear a suit.
 

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If you had a non-sales job where you were in the office all the time and not on sales calls, then I would say never out-dress your boss. In this case, however, you already have the job, right? Just talk to your boss about it. He is, in fact, your boss now and you should be able to talk to him. Is he a Sales Manager or in front of clients all the time? If not, then that might be the reason why he doesn't wear suits. Either way, I would think most sales positions should require suits.
 

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I think it is more important to wear what makes you comfortable. After a couples weeks everyone just expected it, and it was just me being me.
I have to agree with brokencycle. I'm in Finance, not sales, so I can't comment as to what's appropriate in that area, but I dress in suits, ties, etc. on a daily basis. My boss, however, goes along with the rest of the company and is business casual on almost a daily basis. I have been on the receiving end of some pretty good-natured ribbing from my colleagues, but now everyone just expects me to wear suits. I think if I wore chinos and a casual button down shirt to work, several of them might pass out at this point.

If you are more comfortable and confident in a suit (and therefore, more successful), I doubt anyone would argue with results.
 

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I personally think you need to be careful with this issue.

While dressing better than others around you could be construed as someone that sweats the details and goes above and beyond the call, it could just as easily target you as someone that is a self-centered show-off. Now, whether you care about that or is entirely your business.

However, I've gotten to the point after 30 years in the Commercial/Industrial/Institutional workforce that.....with the distinct exception of more traditional sort-of "downtown-centered" professions like finance/banking/law.....dressing in a suit on a day-to-day basis has largely become a non-issue.
 

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I was an intern at an engineering firm and not only outdressed all the full time engineers, I outdressed the managers and the plant manager. They didn't like ties, but I did.

I think it is more important to wear what makes you comfortable. After a couples weeks everyone just expected it, and it was just me being me.

If you're not doing it to show people up, I don't see a problem.
Well said. I couldn't agree more.

Someone somewhere sometime told me to dress to "match the boss of your boss". Funnily enough, that has worked very well for me but only because...

1) I love clothes anyway and enjoy paying attention to what I wear, and
2) both at my current job and in my last one my line managers' bosses have dressed really well :icon_smile:
 

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I regularly dress better than my boss and she compliments me on it each time & it seems to make her genuinely happy to see well-dressed men, because where I work (govt agency) there aren't that many.
And she herself is one of the tennis shirt & jeans brigade.
 

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If wearing a suit helps bring in the numbers, wear the suit. If wearing a clown suit helps bring in better numbers, wear the clown suit. Your boss doesn't care what you wear. He wants the numbers.

If anyone asks you why you wear a suit and tie everyday, just respond in your best Chandler Bing, "Because I'm a ........ grown man?"
 

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You're in sales. You shouldn't worry about outdressing the boss, you should worry about presenting the appropriate image to clients.

That will vary wildly depending on your industry and clients. I'm in the garment industry, and would look very inappropriate in a suit. Funny, huh?

It's just the way it is. Dress to make your clients feel comfortable with you, which is the key to sales.

Don't let the title sway you either. I'm in a similar position in a small company, and could refer to myself as Executive Vice President in charge of Global Sales Development if I like, it really doesn't matter much.

The best thing to do is ask your boss how to best present yourself to the clients, assuming he's met them before and has an idea of what would be best.
 

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Two of the responses that I regularly deliver when asked, "Why are you wearing a tie/jakcet/suit?"

are

1. "For the same reason that you aren't!"

and

2. "Why AREN'T you wearing a tie/jacket/suit?"

They always send the enquirer off in deep thought.
 
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