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Want the dream job? Throw on your PJs

DUMP that Zara bomber jacket and the Chanel trouser suit and get out the baggy tee-shirt and sweatpants.

If you want to make an impression you can forget about wearing the pinstripes – pyjama stripes are where it's at.

A new study by the Harvard Business School has found that while donning tee-shirts and tracksuits in formal settings may not be considered the most traditional way to make a good impression, it can lead to an air of 'competency'. The fact that you feel comfortable doing it makes you look more successful, it seems.

Maybe all those young ones hitting Tesco in their PJs were right after all?

Wearing different clothes can certainly elevate your status in the eyes of those around you.

For example, if you wear gym clothes on your next visit to Brown Thomas it will convey that you are more of a 'big shot' than someone dressed in luxury items.

So while the likes of Lisa Fitzpatrick and Amy Huberman dress in tasteful stylish outfits, you simply have to throw on the sweatshirt you wore in the tag rugby competition last summer and a pair of cheap tracksuit bottoms. The sales assistants will be running towards you – for the right reasons.

The Harvard study showed that while it is seen as "easier" to conform to norms, if you flout the traditional concept of what is stylish it can give you a higher status.

Consider a college lecturer for instance. The research has showed that students attributed more competence to the unshaven tee-shirt-clad man than to some well-dressed dude in a suit.

Now how far do we take this? Should you meet the future in-laws in a velour top, trainers and sweatpants? Is it different for men and women?

Well, Oprah Winfrey has named women who have gone this far as "schlumpadinkas". A schlumpadinka "dresses like she has completely given up – and it shows" according to Oprah (whose fashion bill spend is probably equivalent to our annual GDP). Take note, ladies.


Of course men can be the worst offenders when it comes to dressing down, but then again we are expected to be. You can see male celebs wearing gym wear and scruffy beards at awards ceremonies.

Silvia Bellezza, one of the three authors of the study concluded: "If you're willing to deviate, there are upsides. In other words, when dressing down looks deliberate, a person can appear to have a higher status."

Their conclusive proof? They found that shop assistants in an expensive store in Milan assumed that people who dressed down were assumed to be so confident in themselves that they didn't need to dress up.

This is where the study is flawed and I can prove it.

I was in Milan during the 2002 World Cup. Ireland had qualified for the second round and I had on my green Ireland tee-shirt and a pair of white GAA shorts of indeterminate origin.

I was nearly arrested in a fashion shop I visited with my then girlfriend. She wisely pretended not to know me when I was asked to leave by staff.

Still I will give dressing down a go. I have ditched the khaki chinos and am wearing a pair of Westmeath GAA sweatpants I retrieved in Copper Facejack's Lost and Found. I haven't shaved for three days and confidently expect to the land the dream girl and the dream job to boot.

Beware – a terrible beauty is born.