Illustration depicting an illuminated neon sign with a dress code concept.

 

I am all about showing your individuality. After all I am the girl with purple hair. I however do not think you should show your individuality with how you dress. It is sad to say, but we do judge each other based on appearance. Research shows that your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion. And well, perception (in the mind of the judge is to them reality) what you wear not only communicates who you are in the minds of others, but also influences your level of career advancement. 

The outfit you wore to the club that all your friends complimented you on, is not the outfit to wear to work. There used to be a saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I am not saying you need to wear a 3 piece buttoned up business suit to work every day. I am however saying think before you dress.

Here are tips to consider to ensure your clothing has a positive impact on your success and who you want to be seen as:

1.Don’t show too much skin. Seems simple enough, no short skirts, strapless tops, or shoes that barely cover your feet. (We all know I know about shoes)

2.Don’t wear wrinkled clothing. I don’t like to iron, so I either go to the dry cleaners, or have recently purchased a steam iron. It takes out the wrinkles in seconds. Most dryers now have a wrinkle free setting. You’ll look neat and way more put together.

3.Never wear stained/ dirty clothes. Do not think you can get away with wearing that dirty shirt just one more time before bringing it to the dry cleaners. News flash: You can’t. Or that no one will notice that small stain form last week’s lunch.

4.Wear clothes that fit you. Your tailor can be your best friend. I know it’s great that you lost all that weight, now go buy some new clothes that show off that fabulous body. Wearing baggy clothes that are clearly too big have the same impact as the ones that are too tight. Sends the message that you don’t care.

5.Wear appropriate shoes and accessories. Don’t wear jewelry that is too flashy or obnoxious. Again this is not the club, wild jewelry can be distracting while you are trying to be heard. Your shoes should be comfortable and appropriate for work. No sky high stilettos you wobble around in. Ladies if you wear makeup, don’t overdo it, you want to look elegant and sophisticated. Men be sure and have a tie that matches your shirt and suit, and please no brown shoes with black pants.  

6.Groom your hair. The messy bed head, does not work in the office. Take time to style your hair, in a professional way. A beard is fine and can often add to your appearance, but it needs to be neat and trimmed up.

7.Don’t wear shorts. In some workplaces it’s perfectly acceptable for women and men to wear shorts. But, if you really want to portray yourself as a professional, steer clear. And under no circumstances should you be wearing booty shorts or daisy dukes, whatever we are calling them now. We do not need to see your behind.

I suggest that you go through your wardrobe and section it off. If you would wear it to the club to go dancing, don’t wear it to work. Remember dress for the job you want, dress to impress. If you are unsure how to dress like the successful business person you, look to see how other businesses colleges are dressing. Take a queue from them, they made it to the top.