What if how you dressed impacted whether or not you ended up getting a promotion?

It’s nearly impossible to stomach, especially considering your skills and the accomplishments you’ve made at the company. The last thing you want to consider is that after all your hard work and focused effort, what you choose to wear every day could be the one thing holding you back.

And yet, according to Kristin Wong on Lifehacker, this actually happens. Citing a recent CareerBuilder poll that “surveyed 2,000 HR managers across the U.S.,” Wong tracks the statistics for notable employer attitudes about employee appearance. This is what she reports from among the findings:

  • 44% were less likely to promote an employee who wore provocative clothing to work.
  • 43% were less likely to promote an employee who wore wrinkled clothes.
  • 32% were less likely to promote an employee with piercings other than traditional ear piercings.
  • 27% were less likely to promote an employee who frequently wore clothing that was too casual for the workplace.

Of course, the piece also notes the obvious—that the impact will definitely vary from company to company. Still, it’s pretty safe to say that no one wants to hear that how he dresses can negatively impact his career success.

Look on the bright side: These numbers may not tell a story you like, but they tell a story nonetheless—one you can use to your advantage. In other words, the old cliché still rings true: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.


Photo of colleagues courtesy of Thomas Barwick/Getty Images.