Is it a bad idea to wear a better watch than your boss?

There’s a reason why office dress codes are more confusing than ever. On the whole, they no longer exist. Unless you’re obliged to wear a uniform or work in one of those dwindling industries where the suit and tie still prevails, most offices have loosened their collars. But this apparent lack of rules does not mean that sartorially anything goes. Every workplace maintains a set of unspoken conventions and it’s up to you to figure them out. The sad reality is your working wardrobe is less about “dress to impress” and more “dress to fit in”. This might seem like soul-crushing advice that stifles your individual swagger. Yet, broadly conforming to your workplace is a tacit demonstration that you understand the office culture. One British study even found that a “cohesive sense of style” in an office helps to create a good team spirit and foster higher levels of productivity. Presumably, this is why co-workers often start to subconciously develop a uniform “look” whether that’s bankers’ penchant for pinstripe or bikies’ soft spot for leather and facial tattoos. Even more depressingly for any fashion maverick, it’s specifically your boss’ style cues you need to observe. In the same study, commissioned…

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