Why you and your coworkers end up dressing the same

You turn up for a big meeting only to find that the person youre presenting is wearing all black with a pop of leopard print – just like you.

Youll now have to make jokes about this not being the company uniform for the next hour. Great.

You look around your desk and see that everyones wearing a breton striped top with skinny jeans. Time for a #twinning pic, we reckon.

Or, the worst, you now need to create a schedule to wear that Zara dress, as four other people in your office have turned up wearing it on the same day.

Coworkers dressing near-identically is definitely a thing.

Sadly, theres no scientific research into this culturally acknowledged phenomenon, but just a look through your Twitter and Instagram on a weekday will show its not a coincidence that only occurs in your office. Just spot all the ha, were both wearing checked shirts with black jeans posts.



All over the place, people who work together often find themselves dressing in a similar way – or wearing the exact same thing.

Why does it happen?

Theres the practical, logistical side to consider first.

People who work together all experience the same things that influence the clothes they choose to buy.

They all live in the same area, meaning they have the same shops available. Theyre probably all on a similar level of income, which will influence their budget. They see the same celebrities, the same catwalks, the same magazines, all trickling down to tell them what looks cool.

If your office has a dress code, that limits your options and makes twinning more likely, too. If youre not allowed to wear shorts but jeans are okay, its not too surprising if everyone shows up wearing a slogan tee, jeans, and Stan Smiths on a Friday. If a particular day calls for smartness, youll all be wearing some sort of blazer. If its freezing in your office, no wonder loads of you have invested in the same cosy cardigan.

The likelihood of people at work dressing similarly is high, simply because theyre all living in the same cultural space, with the same clothing options available.

Thats the practical side of things, but theres a psychological element going on, too.

We dress to create a sense of unity at work (Picture: Ella Byworth/

Whether you consciously buy the same things youve spotted your desk buddy wearing or find yourself dressing in a fashion increasingly similar to your boss, its human nature to take your personal style closer to that of the people you work with. Its all about creating a sense of belonging and togetherness.



Psychologist Dr Barry Cripps explains that coworkers start dressing similarly or wearing the exact same thing because they want to be seen like everyone else in the organisation, fitting into the culture and maintaining their social identity within the group.

Subtly copying your coworkers style is an attempt to fit in and show everyone that you belong, youre the right fit, and so youre doing a great job. You look like you belong, so youre safer from getting excluded.

Counselling Directory member Dr Sarah Jane Khalid agrees, telling that there may be benefits to dressing alike when youre part of a team at work.

It builds rapport and makes us feel safe, she says. If there is a sense of conformity, then we feel able to identify ourselves in others, which feels safe and can bring a level of certainty.

As much as we like to think ourselves as unique and individuals we are also driven to fit in with a group.

This conformity is often driven by identification, this can bring the group together thus forming a sense of belonging and connection.

Dr Cripps notes that dressing alike can reinforce the idea that youre working as a team, allowing for better communication among the group.

But of course, while you and your boss might be wearing that exact same dress from & Other Stories on repeat, there will always be someone in the office who has a personal style thats entirely their own.

There are so few nursing dresses out there it was bound to happen, but this is workplace twinning to the max.

— JenJudson (@JenJudson) May 14, 2019


That might protect them from all those accidental twinning moments, but it can also reduce their sense of belonging.

Dressing differently could make the statement, “I am my own person”, “the organisation is not going to mould me into their way of dressing (and thinking)”, explains Dr Cripps. This might upset management and detract from attempts to bond and strengthen social cohesion.

But its not all bad news. Standing out can be handy if youre no longer trying to just go unnoticed and be a small cog in the machine.

Sarah says: If someone dresses differently, it may make them feel less of a part of the in-group but it can help the person with personal branding, which can sometimes enable promotion in the workplace.

So if youre showing everyone youre a team player, dressing like the people you work with is a good shout. But if youre trying to send the message that youRead More – Source

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