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Business Casual – What to Wear to Work

May 7, 2013 Leave a comment
Dress-Down Friday

Dress-Down Friday

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:

Dress-Down Days

Dress-Down Days

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:

The Gap

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

Business Casual:

Business Casual

Business Casual

Business Casual

Business Casual

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:

The Gap:

Adam is wearing khakis $59.50

a dress shirt $35.99

and a v-neck sweater $44.95

The Bay:

Steph is wearing a blue dress with a peplum $99

and in the second photo a beige and white dress $139

business casual

Business Casual

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.

Business Casual

Business Casual

Banana Republic:

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,

Business Casual

Business Casual

Steph is wearing a white dress $160

and a white blazer $160

Business:

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:

Traditional Business Attire

Traditional Business

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)

Traditional Business Attire

Traditional Business

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:

Banana Republic:

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

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Preparing for an Interview – the Dick and Jane Series:

November 5, 2012 2 comments

I would like to say that this video is an extreme example of what not to do; however, I have been told many tales from employers that make Dick look like a pretty good candidate.

  1. The reality is, like everything in life, you get from it what you put into it.  If you want to impress, take the time to get to know the company that you are interviewing with. Read the mission and vision statement, look for strategic plans and other planning documents that will help you understand what the company’s goals and challenges are.  Stay up to date with market trends and information that may be impacting them at the moment.  If you can reference current conditions in that industry and show your awareness, they will see that you are a focused, diligent and generally aware.
  2. Think of an interview as a conversation about possibilities, a chance to learn and an opportunity to share information. Make the most of your interview: relax, take the time to respond clearly, and be yourself. The more worked up you allow yourself to get about an interview, the worse you will perform.
  3. Practice potential responses out loud, in front of a mirror or patient friends and family members. Discover various strategies, transitions, and lead-ins for answering different kinds of questions, talking to one person or a group, and changing topics or focus.
  4. Practice asking questions. Employers will expect you to ask one or two questions at the end, so prepare something ahead of time.
    Ask things like: What are your priorities for this position within the first 6 months?
    What are you looking for in an ideal candidate for this role?
    Do not ask things like:    What is your vacation allotment?
    Do you have a maximum number of sick days that employees can take?
    If you ask the right sorts of questions, it will give you an opportunity, once they answer it, to follow-up with further examples of how you would be a good fit.  If they mention that their ideal candidate would be exceptional at multi-tasking and time management and you did not highlight that in your initial responses, now is the time.
  5. Anticipate commonly asked questions by interviewers and develop a set of related responses that you can mold to a variety of individual situations. Prepare responses that cover the main areas that just about all employers are going to want to know about.  Such as: ability to work in a team, ability to work independently, communication skills, work ethic and reliability, interpersonal skills and conflict management, multi-tasking and time management skills, project management and organizational abilities, career goals, greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses.
  6. Choose an interview outfit that is clean, respectable, and modest.  What you wear tells them how seriously you are taking this interview.  If you show up in a suit, they know that you respect them and the job.  If you show up in regular pants and a sweater, you are not too keen or interested in making a good impression.  If you show up in jeans and have a baseball cap on, then you are wasting their time.

Tell me about your best and worst interview experiences.

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