The philosophy behind the phrase “Dress for Success” should extend beyond just the interview process. It’s tempting once we land the job we want to relax our standards and get a little too comfortable in our clothing choices. But while people aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, the reality is that most of them do. And how you dress could be saying more about you than you realize! Like it or not, the selection we make each morning while standing at the closet can say a lot about how we feel about ourselves and can have a great effect on how others perceive us, and how far we advance in our careers.
Today, approximately 90% of the workforce has at least one ‘casual day’ a week and many companies have gone to ‘business casual’ 5 days a week. The problem is that unless the term ‘casual’ is defined, you might have employees showing up in garb that would have been better left on the hanger or in the bottom drawer. In many instances, ‘casual’ became interchangeable with ‘sloppy’, and ‘Casual Friday” turned into ‘Dumpy Frumpy Friday’. This is in part due to the fact that ‘business casual’ seems to have become synonymous with ‘weekend casual’ and while your jogging suit or tattered jeans and collarless t-shirt might be suitable for the casual backyard barbeque, they aren’t appropriate choices to make for casual day attire at the office.
Here are some suggestions that I’ve compiled from my visits to dozens of companies each year:
- If jeans are an option in the workplace, then a darker denim or black jean looks much dressier than the faded stone washed pair with threadbare knees and tattered bottoms.
- Sporty watches or funky-chunky jewelry can dress up a simple collared blouse with 3/4 length sleeves.
- A pressed, collared golf shirt or tee looks much better than the wrinkled one pulled from the bottom drawer. Combine a simple pressed tee with a jacket, a pair of jeans and leather belt and you have a polished presence in the workplace whether you are male or female.
- Dressy sandals on manicured/groomed feet (for either gender) give you a much dressier look than the old standby of socks and tennis shoes.
- If shorts are an option, keep them pressed and just slightly above or below the knee. Save those short-shorts for the pool and backyard barbeque where they are more appropriate.
- Micro mini’s, very low cut blouses, sequined tops, see-through shirts, fishnet stockings, halters, camisoles or crop tops that expose bellies or midriffs, stiletto heels and the exposure of undergarments is NEVER EVER appropriate attire for the office! All of those items might come to mind for a fun costume for the office Halloween party, but even on that festive occasion, you might find that to be a regretful choice that haunts you in the long run.
While it would be nice to think that we live in a world free of judgment, the simple fact is that we don’t! And what a shame it would be to be passed over for a promotion, special project or other opportunity simply because of poor choices that were made while standing in front of the closet. So much of how others view us professionally depends on how we carry ourselves – which includes the clothes we wear. Obviously, there are many people that either don’t know this or don’t believe it. Don’t let yourself be one of them! You don’t have to spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks. And remember…when in doubt – don’t wear it out!
Keep your PRO StatusSign up to get the latest news and updates from PhonePRO and keep your PRO status....
Click here to signup now >>