BBC – Capital – How breaking dress codes pays off

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We all want to fit in. Never more so than at work which means most of us sink significant time and money into trying to get our heads around all the hidden dress codes and etiquette.

This dutiful compliance with office norms signals we are knowledgeable, resourceful and that we belong, says Rick Harbaugh, an associate professor of business economics at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.  

But would a more off-the-wall approach be a better investment?

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Standing out from the crowd

Standing out, rather than fitting in, could in fact be the smarter route to success. A phrase coined in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2014, the “red sneaker effect”, revealed we confer higher status and competence on mavericks versus conformists.

So we…

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