Yes, Everyone Is Judging What You Wear To Work, So Says New Study

You're not imagining it -- 60 percent of workers reckon that their colleagues rate their outfits, which makes getting dressed in the morning rather stressful.

The study -- conducted by job search website SEEK -- revealed that unless you're part of the 44 percent of people who have to wear a uniform to work, picking an outfit can be a stressful experience.

Yup, about half of those surveyed admitted to worrying about what they wear -- and that their colleagues would judge them for it.

Kathleen McCudden, SEEK's group HR director told 10 daily that the reason behind our workwear woes may have its links in wider society.

"In a society in general people do feel that what they wear and how they present themselves is one of the ways that others form views and ideas about them. It's not dissimilar in the workplace,' she said.

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Now and then

McCudden flagged the change in fashion over the past few decades as a potential source of outfit anxiety.

"If you look at what people are wearing to work now compared with what they used to wear -- which was a lot more formal -- I think there's a lot more flexibility and an 'open for interpretation' vibe which may be one of the reasons behind the stress."

McCudden reminisced about when she began her career in the early '90s when "almost everybody wore business clothes and it was very unusual if a man didn't wear a tie to work."

Nowadays however it's very unusual if a man does rock up to the office wearing a tie.

How times have changed, hey?

Since 'businesswear' got left by the wayside almost three decades ago the office dress code has gotten progressively more casual.

"There's a lot more choice for people these days," McCudden said -- and with so many outfit options out there there's little wonder why we're freaking out.

She also mentioned that it's younger people who are feeling more judgement and stress around what they wear as opposed to people who are more mature-aged and later on in their career.

Overdressed is best

Don't know what to wear to a job interview? You're not alone -- eight in 10 people SEEK surveyed believed that what you wear to a job interview can heavily influence the outcome.

So what should you wear? Business, casual or somewhere in between? It's a question that comes up a lot in McCudden's experience and her advice is to do a bit of research into the company and the role you're applying for to find out what their expectations are.

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At the end of the day, it's always best to be overdressed in her opinion.

Keep in mind that whether we like it or not people will form opinions of us based on the way we show up, the way we're presented and what we wear. It's always a good idea to be well-dressed -- at least until you understand what the expectations of your new work environment are.

Leave those denim cut-offs in the wardrobe. "It demonstrates a lack of understanding and alliance with the new company and culture that you're joining," she said.

"It's always easier to start out dressing formally and ease into something more casual."

Bring back the uniform?

Picking the right outfit for the office is starting to sound like an exercise in torture, so should we just do away with 'civvies' altogether? Is it time for a compulsory industry-wide uniform? It would save time in the morning ...

No way, at least according to McCudden. "There's an enormous amount of benefit in giving people a more relaxed dress code."

That's unless you work in an environment where a uniform is required for health and safety reasons, obvs.

"Speaking as an HR director you want people to come to work and be able to be their authentic self -- that actually gets the best out of employees," she told 10 daily.

In other words, a relaxed dress code makes for relaxed, happy and productive employees.

Feature Image: MGM.