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Survey Shows How Clothing Choices Affect Promotion Prospects

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A word of advice for workers considering wearing pajamas, a chicken suit or parachute pants to the office: Don't. In a survey from OfficeTeam, eight in 10 (80 percent) executives interviewed said clothing choices affect an employee's chances of earning a promotion, and respondents gave some pretty hilarious examples of outfits that missed the mark.  

The good news for the wardrobe-challenged is that proper attire may carry less weight than it did six years ago: 93 percent of executives surveyed in 2007 tied professional wear to advancement prospects. Among those respondents, 33 percent said clothing significantly affects a person's chances of moving up the ladder, versus just 8 percent who feel this way today.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.  

Managers were asked, "To what extent does someone's style of dress at work influence his or her chances of being promoted?" Their responses:










Not at all






Managers also were asked to recount the strangest outfits they have heard of or seen someone wearing to work, not in observance of Halloween. Following are some examples:

  • "A dinosaur costume"
  • "Pajamas"
  • "Parachute pants"
  • "A chicken suit"
  • "Coveralls"
  • "A space suit"
  • "Studs and motorcycle gear"
  • "A wolf mask"

These professionals got creative with their clothing combinations:

  • "A T-shirt, tie and flip-flops"
  • "Short pants and a winter jacket"
  • "One red sock and one white sock"
  • "Tennis shoes and men's knicker pants"
  • "Shorts and house slippers"
  • "A red suit with sporty footwear"

Others donned apparel that left little to the imagination:

  • "A see-through dress"
  • "Fishnet stockings and stilettos"  
  • "A bathing suit"
  • "A tube top"
  • "A backless shirt"

This gear was more appropriate for the gym than the workplace:

  • "A muscle shirt"
  • "A sweat suit"
  • "Yoga pants"
  • "Very tight bike shorts"

These outfits just didn't make the "cut":

  • "Torn jeans"
  • "A vest with a big hole in the back"
  • "A T-shirt with cut-off sleeves"

And the following getups might be viewed as fashion faux pas both in and out of the office:

  • "Saggy pants"
  • "Sandals with socks"
  • "Flood pants"

"Employees may be tempted to dress down in today's workplace, especially during warmer months, but clothing that's too casual or revealing can be frowned upon," said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. "Although a polished appearance alone won't land you a promotion, it can help others envision you in a leadership role."

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

SOURCE OfficeTeam

For further information: Cynthia Kong, (650) 234-6298,