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How To Dress Professionally To Work – Dress For Success


Isn’t it totally hilarious when you spot a big, pot-bellied man with the buttons on his wrinkled shirt misplaced, his pants oversized, shoes unpolished and automatically assume ‘this man must be a driver’ even if he isn’t? William Shakespeare once said ‘the apparel oft proclaims a man.’ In modern times that translates to ‘the clothes make the man.’ So, dress for success.

See Also: Resources that will help you start, market and grow a sustainable business.

Simply, people are judged based on how they dress. Appearance is everything! Dress the way you want to be addressed? Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to imply that you have to wear expensive clothing in order to get addressed in a good way. However, clean clothes, properly pressed clothing, clean and polished shoes, as well as good personal hygiene, will always go a long way in enhancing what opinions other people form of you.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

The next career or business opportunity does not often announce itself before popping up. Always ensuring to present yourself well-groomed and with poise is, therefore, imperative. And it does not matter if you are a fresh graduate, an undergraduate, a nurse, a banker, a painter, or a musician.

Looks are the first communicative component that people are exposed to. Your outward appearance speaks volumes about your person. There is a certain level of confidence that one exudes from been dressed well. When you look good, you feel good!

Dress codes are widely used in the workplace and they vary according to the company or organization. For example, in most banks, the workers are restricted to certain colors of suits and workwear while in some manufacturing companies, the factory workers are not allowed to wear certain types of clothing whilst operating heavy machinery.

These days, there is a wide range of acceptable dressing in the workplace, hence the need to get accustomed to your employer’s (or prospective employer’s) dress policy and be observant of the company’s culture.  It seems absurd that we can be judged based on our workplace dress-sense instead of solely on our merits or our good works, but we cannot forget that we operate in a highly competitive world, where the way we appear affects our professional capacity and how we are treated.

An employee serves as an intermediary between the employers or company and the clients. An employee’s professional look is easier in the eyes of employers, prospective clients, or partners. According to a survey by careerbuilder.com, 93 percent of executives believe that an employee’s style of dress at work influences his or her chances for promotion. Surprising, isn’t it? In fact, appropriate dressing can help an organization achieve its goal. Investment companies and banks use their appearance to achieve goals and hit targets.

I have put together some tips for both men and women.

Dressing Tips For Men Entrepreneurs

  • At least two pairs of suits (with matching pants please!). They should be fit, not boxy or too tight. They should come in neutral colors, i.e. black, grey, or colors in between
  • White or light blue (or not so flashy colors) long-sleeved shirts, neatly pressed and with a good fit
  • Quality, simple-patterned ties with not so many contrasting colors. You should also learn to properly knot a tie. Make sure your shirt is properly buttoned to the top when wearing a tie (this is where having a shirt that is your perfect size comes to play)
  • Clean and polished formal shoes. Your shoes should go with your shirts and suit. It is more advisable to have a pair of black and brown shoes
  • Black, navy, brown, or gray socks that are at least mid-calf high
  • Belts should match the color of your shoes
  • Neat haircuts as well as properly shaved facial hair (if you have one)
  • Ensure that your fingernails are clean and well-trimmed
  • As for jewelry, wedding or college rings and a nice watch are okay as well as cufflinks (depending on the kind of shirt you are wearing)
  • Wear minimal cologne not sharp fragrances
  • In an event of carrying a laptop bag or briefcase, make sure they are neat, not torn or rough-looking and of earth tone colors

Dressing Tips For Female Entrepreneurs

  • Skirted suits or pantsuits of mild colors – navy, charcoal gray, and black) Patterns (if any) on the suits should be very minimal
  • Long-sleeved shirts of not-so-flashy colors. They should be fit, not too big or too tight. They shouldn’t also be transparent
  • Blouses can be button-ups, turtle necks, shells, or fashion blouses with neutral colors. Make sure what you wear ensures you are covered up
  • Skirts should be at a modest length. The skirt should still cover your thighs when sitting down. Make sure the skirt is appropriate for walking or climbing the stairs. The skirts should be fitting but not overly tight. In the advent of a slit, the slit should be moderate and remember, neutral tones!
  • Shoes should be clean and polished. Closed-toed pumps are usually preferred
  • Hairstyles should be classy and not distracting
  • Conservative and natural-looking makeup as too much makeup could be distracting
  • Ensure that fingernails are clean and trimmed with neutral polish if at all
  • Minimal and classic jewelry is advised
  • Wear minimal perfume (if at all)
  • Handbags should match your outfit as well as your belts

One should resist tattered clothing, unfinished seams, clothes that show cleavage, stomach, back and underwear. Always replace removed buttons.

Although, dress codes vary somewhat by industry, modesty still is everything! According to John T. Mollo, Dress for Success!

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