There are some companies that are very specific with their dress codes, with clear dos and don’ts. However, some companies are a little less plain with what men and women in the workplace can and cannot wear. Nevertheless, if you follow these general guidelines, you will always be on point when you dress for work.
Dress as if you care, even if it is a casual workplace.
No matter what the dress code may be in your office, always dress as if you care – even if it is a casual workplace. Actually, it matters more if you follow a casual dress code. This is because, in the more recent years, with the casual dress code, people have become too complacent with what they wear to the workplace. Just because you can wear casual clothing does not mean you cannot care about the way you look and present yourself. This is just completely wrong.
Dress suitably for your industry, company, and work environment.
Just think about your industry, your company, and your work environment to figure out how to dress at work. Case in point, individuals who work in finance or law typically dress more traditionally than individuals who work for industries that are more creative. In addition, while you cannot go wrong with a beautifully pressed suit, this might be too extreme for a relaxed industry.
You do not need to peruse your company manual to find out what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to wear in your office. The best suggestion that image consultants give is to take a good look at your office and your supervisors and peers. Is your CEO wearing a formal business suit? Does your manager prefer long skirts and straight-cut slacks? Moreover, although your job position does not need you to meet with clients outside of the office, you are still trying to make a good impression on your boss or other potential future supervisors.
Interestingly enough, even though women have more choices on what to wear in the office, they also have more opportunities to make a mistake. A man cannot seem to draw a misstep when they choose to wear a button down shirt with khakis versus a tie and a shirt with slacks. Contrastingly, it seems more glaring when a woman picks a somewhat transparent maxi dress to wear to work. The effects on their reputations are also scarcely comparable.
Know your clothes’ purpose.
Use your clothes for what they are meant for. Do not substitute yoga pants for slacks, for example. This has been the case currently, as many people have been wearing tons of stylish active wear from the fashion market. Wear your office attire to the office; your summer outfit for the beach; your formal gown for a wedding; etc.
Avoid showing too much skin.
If you are a woman, avoid showing too much skin (e.g., cleavage). A neckline that is too low takes attention away from where it should really be. It is just too inappropriate and distracting in a business setting. This is actually a hard and fast rule for women in the workplace.
A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly indicated that dressing too sexy has psychological impacts on your colleagues. Particularly, women who hold high-level positions wearing attire that is deemed sexy are perceived to be as less competent, no matter what their skill set may be.
In addition, these women were usually passed over for promotions more times than their female peers who were more conservatively dressed. Hence, if you are a woman and would like to move up the corporate ranks, rethink going too sexy with your outfits.
Keep yourself and your attire well groomed.
Even if you are dealing with a dress code that is business casual or casual, you and your clothing should always be well groomed. Keep your hair neat and your nails clean. Make sure that your clothes are not wrinkly and that they are pressed well. Dirty, torn, or fraying clothes are inappropriate. Guarantee that all your seams are finished. Clothing that has terms, images, or words that may appear offensive to other people in the company is improper.
We actually encourage that you wear clothing with your company logo. For the more casual settings, it is actually generally acceptable to wear fashion brand names, university, or sports team logos, and the like.
Understand the importance of fit.
Many people do not know the right fit of their clothes for their bodies – but this is very important. Some have even noted that this is the first rule for buying any kind of clothing.
Many individuals wear clothes that are just too large or improperly tailored. This is a fashion problem that can easily be avoided. We suggest that you buy clothes from department stores or boutiques with tailors situated on site. Alternatively, you can patronize the tailor in your neighborhood. This does not sound very sexy or glamorous, as it hearkens to measurements and numbers, which can be very boring. However, the most exquisite suit will not look good on you when you wear it and it does not fit well.
How will you know if something is a good fit? Well, it should flatter your body and it should draw attention to portions of your body you would like to highlight, like your shoulders, chest, or face. In addition, it should diminish portions of your body that you would rather hide, like a round tummy, for example.
So take some time to know your body and get a tailor for some precise measurements. Learn to reject clothes that do not fit well and cannot be adjusted to your body, even if it is in a style and color that you like.
Know your style.
Speaking of style, make sure you know what your style is. If you are more traditional and modest, go that route. Do not try to be creative and colorful if you are not comfortable with it. Remember, if you feel comfortable in your style, you tend to be more confident and engaging.
Actually, this is very attractive inside and outside of the workplace. Just take a look at high-powered men and women who have carved a fashion niche for themselves, who have signature styles of their own. Simply watch this video of Michelle Obama’s fashion style:
Always present yourself the best way possible.
At the end of the day, always present yourself the best way you possibly can. In the past, people used to put a lot of effort in getting dressed for work – it was already a habit for them. So try to get into that routine and do not just simply wear something at random.
Good intentions are everything, so try to dress well as much as you can, as often as you can. This shows that you respect your employer enough to demonstrate that you want to represent them in a good light all the time.