“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
— Edith Head
Ways to Dress for Success
The days of wearing formal suits to the office are a thing of the past, as most employers are giving employees the option of ditching the suit and tie. More than 60% of organizations allow workers to dress somewhat casually by wearing khakis and polo shirts or sweaters, while 13% let employees dress even more casual by wearing jeans and T-shirts. “Business casual” is the new formal, but what does that mean exactly? While most employees appreciate not having to dress up every day, having a relaxed dress code is causing workers some difficulty trying to figure out what’s appropriate to wear.
If you are meeting a client or it is your first time in the office, what you wear will usually say a lot about you. Even though you can never judge a book by its cover, people do make an initial judgement when they first meet you. From what you say to what you wear, it is important to understand that the way you dress can affect your success.
Take a cue from those in charge.
When figuring out how to dress at work, take inspiration from your company’s leadership. Consider how your boss, and even their boss dresses. It never hurts to dress for the job you want.
If 90% of the employees wear a button down and tie, more likely than not, you should too. The best part is, every tie color has a different meanings! The way you dress and present yourself will show how serious you are about succeeding in the workplace.
Even if you can dress as casual as you want, make sure the clothes you choose are clean and wrinkle-free. Consider carrying a travel-sized wrinkle releaser spray (like this one from Amazon) for an on-the-go option.
Focus on the details.
A dress code doesn’t just encompass the clothes you wear. Be sure to pay attention to the accessories you choose and your grooming. Accessories can be worn tastefully, and hair, facial hair, and nails should be neat to maintain a well-kept appearance.
Think about your schedule.
If you are meeting with clients or have an important meeting, you may want to dress a little more formal, even if your company has a casual dress code. In addition, you may want to keep a blazer in your office just in case your day unexpectedly changes.
If you wear professional or conservative clothes from Mondays to Thursdays, don’t appear completely different during Fridays. Even if the company has “dress-down Fridays” or “casual Fridays”, you still have to look presentable enough. Regardless of the type of company you are working for, always be consistent because it builds your credibility as an employee.
A professional look demonstrates a high regard for oneself and your employer. How you carry yourself, your behavior and your wardrobe style should all point to one goal: you want to succeed.
Now go raid your closet and sort through your wardrobe!