Does your attire matter in business?

With Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie recently making headlines, CEOs and PR pros are left asking: What are we saying through the way we clothe ourselves for work?

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“I definitely believe that clothes communicate as much about a professional as the words that roll out of their mouths,” says Hope Gibbs, owner of Inkandescent Public Relations.

That was readily apparent in early May, when Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg raised some Wall Street eyebrows by wearing a hoodie to a New York meeting in advance of his company’s initial public offering.

It brought others to his defense, notably Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who wrote on his blog: “Part of the reason that business has a bad name is the stuffy clothes people wear. It would be brilliant if businesspersons didn’t feel they had to wear a uniform, and leaders could let people be more natural.”

That’s a nice thought, but is it practical? And what should people whose jobs involve communicating—through words and by the impressions they give—say through their clothing? Publicists and PR experts weighed in.

The traditional approach

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