If you want to succeed at work, you need to dress the part. This is not a myth but a reality. Your appearance represents your employer and your respect for your job as much as it represents your personal style. Because of this, employers take very seriously the image that you create for yourself and their company.
It is absolutely imperative that you create a good first impression in an interview; but, that attention to detail and effort needs to shine through on a daily basis. You want to ensure that you are dressing on the high end of what is acceptable in your workplace. “If everyone wears jeans every day, a suit would be too much, as it might convey arrogance; khakis would make a much better choice. The idea is to stand out, not stick out” (Importance of Appearance in the Workplace | eHow.com)
If you take the time to ensure that you are looking professional everyday you will see an increase in your confidence, will command more respect, and be perceived as highly capable.
To show a couple of students how to navigate the business casual, casual Friday, business formal . . . conundrum we took a field-trip to the mall and took over the dressing rooms to pick-out and price-out some work appropriate attire. Here are the results of our excursion.
Dress Down Friday:
The biggest mistake that people make on dress-down days is to think this is the day that they don’t need to care. The reality is that even if you want to wear jeans, you should still look professional. Pairing a dark wash jean with a shirt and blazer is the perfect way to still look sharp.
Where we shopped:
Adam is wearing dark-wash jeans $69
a button up shirt $35.99
and a Blazer $98
Steph is wearing dark-wash jeans $79.95
a neutral t-shirt $19.95
and a Blazer $89.95
Think business not casual and you will probably be on the right track. Business casual is usually dress pants, button up shirt and tie for men and a modest and tailored dress or dress pants and blouse for women. The word casual is just thrown in there to confuse you.
Where We Shopped:
Adam is wearing khakis $59.50
a dress shirt $35.99
and a v-neck sweater $44.95
Steph is wearing a blue dress with a peplum $99
and in the second photo a beige and white dress $139
When choosing a dress for work be sure that the hem falls at or just above the knee. Avoid heels that are above 1 1/2 inches high. A good rule to follow is the shorter the skirt the lower the heal should be.
Adam is wearing dress pants $198
a purple dress shirt $74
and a v-neck argyle sweater $95
In the second photo also from Banana Republic,
Steph is wearing a white dress $160
and a white blazer $160
For many, you will only need to wear full-business attire for interviews, presentations or
days when you have important meetings. Otherwise, the dress-code in many workplaces is business casual. There are some industries that expect full business attire on a daily basis such as banking and business consulting. To create the best impression, pay attention to what others at your workplace are wearing and be sure to stay on the more formal side.
Traditional Business Attire includes:
Women: Skirt suits or pant suits with formal business blouses or tops, stockings, closed toe and heel leather shoes, and appropriate business accessories including a brief case, leather folder for pads of paper, and a conservative pen. Women were encouraged to keep jewelry, makeup, and perfume subtle and elegant. (Human Resources/About.com)
Men: A suit and tie. However, selection of the suit should involve mindful consideration. A CNN report on dress codes suggests than traditional business suits for men should be wool in medium to dark colors. The dress shirt should be white or blue, coordinating with the color of the suit. Lydia Ramsey, a business etiquette expert, suggests solid colored silk ties, and a quality belt that matches the man’s shoes as accessories with a business suit. (What Is Traditional Business Attire? | eHow.com)
Where We Shopped:
Adam is wearing a suit jacket $475
dress pants $198
a dress shirt $74
and a tie $74
Steph is wearing a suit jacket $240
dress pants $124
and a coral blouse $74