Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Image and the workplace

After reading this article on Styleite.com about retail job applicants and associates being discriminated against based on their appearance, it got me thinking about the relationship between image and success in the working world. How strongly are the two related?

I'm sure it won't surprise you that I think image and physical appearance is quite important. I'm not saying that everyone should be Alessandra "I eat whatever I want" Ambrosio skinny and dress like they work at Vogue. Ew. What fun would that be? We'd all look like robots. But, I do think the way you put yourself together is something you should take pride in. It says a lot about who you are. It's common sense really. Do you think the person with greasy hair and wrinkled clothing is going to land the job over someone who looks pulled together and polished?
I don't think so.
However, American Apparel's founder and CEO, Dov Charney, is taking this whole image thing to the next level. He reportedly has been heavily scrutinizing employees he doesn't deem attractive enough to represent the brand so he can find reasons to send them packing. Oh right, Dov, and you're such a sexy man beast. I understand wanting to maintain a certain standard--part of AA's appeal is their "I'm too cool for you" vibe, but I also thought it was a brand that stood for diversity. Guess not.

No wonder I'm having a hard time finding a job! Geeze. Apparently I'm not even qualified to sell V-neck tees and shiny metallic leggings. What do you think: How important is image? And how closely linked do you think it is to success and landing a job? Oh and if anyone has a job interview coming up, check out this vid on fashion Dos and Don'ts!


  1. In the fashion, film, and music world image is everything and it can make or break you. For the rest of us slogging away in office jobs or running to interview after interview, image is more a matter of hygiene, neatness and dressing the part. One doesn't have to be a fashionista at the interview to get the accountant job, but must dress like an accountant. I learned about two years after getting a job one time that I got it because I came to the interview looking my best.


  2. Branding and Image are a huge part of marketing (see, e.g. "Hooters") and it's a corporation's prerogative to have employees (especially those that directly interface with customers/clients) fit the image...to a point. In the case of American Apparel I find that their "heroine chic" image is not something I would feel comfortable buying.

  3. Dov Charney is a fox! Haha I just looked him up. If you show up looking sharp you'll get more of a chance to tell the employer what you know. Your old post about how to dress for an interview is exactly right. I think discrimination based on appearance happens every day, and everywhere. You have to be aware of it. There are a few local bars besides Hooters where the staff are very clearly vetted. There is no way to hire so many attractive women by accident. Like Shannon said,its branding and image. I'm no supermodel, so I do the best with what I have and I go in confident!

  4. hate it or love it, image is everything. the key to a successfull career is the ability to sell yourself. sales is all about the talk and the look. therefore, you have to bring your A game in how you present yourself to get ahead. or you can walk around looking like who shot john and work for the state for 20 years. the choice is yours, and i choose power suits, pumps and the private sector! lololol

  5. Ugh, Dov is the worst. While I'm shaking my head at his less than ethical behavior, I can't say I'm surprised.

  6. Heroine chic...that is the perfect description for AA, Shannon. I do shop there even though the model-esque employees usually make me feel uncomfortable. They've got the pretentious attitude DOWN. And I'm not sure why?

    Yes, George, confidence is the best accessory. A shower doesn't hurt either!

    LOL, Nadette! I choose pumps too...and cute boots :)

    I know, Rosemary...he's probably just eating up all the attention too. Ughh.