December 5, 2013
In his book How to Lose Friends & Alienate People writer Toby Young recalls when advised he could dress ‘casually’ for his first day at glossy magazine Vanity Fair, he opted for a tee shirt which said ‘Young, dumb and full of…. ‘ you can guess the rest. While most people wouldn’t so grossly misjudge what to wear to work; those who play it safe could learn from the latest research from Harvard Business Review. In The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity the researchers advise that non-conforming habits, such as wearing red sneakers to work can boost your prestige. A series of studies demonstrates that people confer higher status and competence to nonconforming rather than conforming individuals. The next step presumably is determining the accepted level of non-conformity that equals success.