DRESS FOR SUCCESS… what does it mean? These days those three little words seem to cause more confusion than ever. Appropriate dress used to be determined by the industry or profession. Now it also varies from business to business. It’s up to each company to determine it’s own standards for professional dress. Unfortunately today, not every company does. While some companies have professional dress policies in place, most do not. In many companies, it isn’t uncommon for workers to show up for work in the same things they would wear while washing the car or going to the beach. With so much diversity out there, the question is, what should a business wardrobe look like? The following tips may help:
Dress to Impress
Notice what your boss and your clients typically wear. To impress your boss, dress for business at the same level or slight more casual. If your boss wears a jacket, so should you. To impress your client, dress at the same level or a little more formal. If your client’s always wear jeans, you might want to leave the jacket and the jeans at home. Dress more casually for success with a collared top and/or tailored style bottom.
Avoid Image Blunders
Everything has it’s time and place. Sexy, Frumpy, Sweaty and Vulgar have no place in the work place… even on casual day. Clothing worn for special activities should be saved for those activities.
Dress Down with Style
Even on casual business days, be prepared. Keep a coordinating jacket handy to dress up a little for the unexpected meeting with the boss or conservative clients.
Plan Ahead for Professional Polish
When it comes to your personal appearance, it’s the little things that count. Good grooming really does make a big difference. You… and your clothing should be in tip-top condition.
Add a Little Pizzazz
Take it easy on the Accessories. Accessories can create the look that says, “This is who I am”. Accessories are the extras that can give each of us individual style. But remember, in business less is more.
Impress with Less for Less
Yes, it is possible to look professional on a budget. Choose quality over quantity. Buy quality fabrics and timeless styles… the best you can afford. Choose season-less fabrics such as lightweight wools, fine cottons, and silks. Natural fibres look and feel more expensive and can be worn all year round.
Think in Threes
In business, less is better when in comes to colour. Wear no more than three colours at once including accessories. Patterns count as one colour. Colours and styles that mix and match create Wardrobe Capsules that save you time and money.
Make a Statement in Shades
Have you ever wondered why the traditional navy or grey suit worn with a white shirt and tie became known as “The Power Suit”? A dark or muted jacket worn with a white or light coloured top highlights the face adding authority and presence.
Make a Little Adjustment
Making small alterations to the sleeves, hemline and waistline or simply changing the buttons can make your clothing look custom tailored, and you look like a million.
When in doubt dress up
In business, it’s better to be over dressed than under dressed… especially if you are trying to make good impression. But keep in mind that consistency is also important. If one day you are wearing a business suit with a collared shirt and the next day you show up for work wearing wrinkled pants with an old T-shirt, co-workers and clients will be confused. It takes consistency in your personal appearance to convey a business image.
When it comes to business dress, even in a casual environment, if it doesn’t seem quite right, it probably isn’t. Dress for Success by using common sense and tasteful good judgment. This can create positive impressions that will help you soar to the top.
Kimberly Law, AICI CIP, owner of Personal Impact Image Management is a Certified Image Consultant, specializing in helping clients make the best impression possible, including personal appearance and etiquette. Sign up forImage Matters & receive FREE articles like this one. Or learn more about formal to business casual dress in our special reports ‘Upwardly Mobile Clothing for Upwardly Mobile Women’ or Upwardly Mobile Clothing for Upwardly Mobile Men’.