Dressing for Success at the Workplace

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Dressing for any career-related event is definitely one of the major sources of anxiety for everyone at some point in their career. As vital as it is for a company to maintain a product's image in today's business world, it is even more important for individuals to package themselves in a way that is smart and professional. In Today's Job Market, first impressions can never be overstated, especially if you are trying to set yourself apart from the pack of other job seekers who are trying to land the same job. The image you portray can either make or break you, and the look you go for reflects your ability to perform perfectly on the job. This is a well-known fact among all professionals, especially those who aspire to high managerial positions. Looking and behaving like a highly qualified and well-groomed professional will definitely help you gain the respect and admiration of your boss, colleges and clients.

Here are a number of helpful dress code tips to get your wardrobe right in a professional setting that suits all the different professional environments that you might need to dress for in your career and a number of fashion faux pas to avoid when dressing for success.

Types of Workplace Attire

There are 3 main types of workplace attire that you need to fully understand. Each attire depends on your company's dress code policy. The three types of dress codes are: Professional Dress, Business Casual and No Dress Code.

Professional Dress

In most conservative industries such as, Sales, Accounting or Banking you will find that this type of business wear is dominant. In general, the business dress for men that works best in most corporate environments is a conservative dark or charcoal gray suit, a white or blue long-sleeve, button-down shirt and a necktie with a minimal or no patterns. Women's business attire consists of a pantsuit or a suit with a skirt, paired with closed-toe high heels. This type of dress code helps you reflect a conservative and professional look that is classy but not too flashy.

Business Casual

For those who are still not familiar with the business world, defining what the business casual style is can be vague. The key to appropriate business casual attire is to understand your company's definition of "business casual". Basically, business casual for men is suit pants or khaki type pants, a button-down collared or polo shirt and traditional black or brown shoes. Weaving a tie or a blazer is optional. Business casual for women means classic black or brown pants, a well-pressed shirt or blouse and high-heels.

The No Dress Code Policy

While most companies have a specific dress code, there are actually some exceptions to this norm. A company with a "No Dress Code" policy allows you to wear what you probably will not wearing to work, such as jeans, T-shirts, flip flops, sneakers and shorts. This policy is common among IT companies, where employees have no direct interaction with clients, but employees may be asked to wear professional attire at networking events, conferences or client meetings.

Things to Avoid When Dressing for Success

Strong Fragrances

Smelling good is definitely a vital part of looking good. However, if you do not apply fragrances correctly, it might not work in your favor in the business world. Avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes in the office or workplace and keep in mind that some people are allergic to some perfumes. So if your fragrance is too strong, only use it in your personal time!

Poor Grooming

Personal grooming is just as important as what you wear. You may select the right clothes, but having poor personal hygiene will ruin the image you wish to present. Make sure that your body is freshly washed and your hair is clean, trimmed, and neatly combed. For men, mustaches or beards must be neatly groomed or better yet, shaved. When it comes to makeup, women must try to wear the minimum and be as natural looking as possible. After all, this is not a beauty contest!


Accessories can definitely reflect your personal style and can be a plus if worn in moderation. There are some accessories, however, that should be avoided in order to look professional and credible. Women should avoid dangling earrings and must wear no more than one ring per hand, a nice watch and a simple necklace. Men should stick to a watch, one ring, and a simple belt. Ties with loud patterns should be avoided. Always remember that when it comes to accessorizing in the workplace: Less is more!

Many professionals commit a number of fashion faux pas without even realizing it due to their lack of experience when it comes to corporate attire. This can sometimes lead to being passed over for a job or promotion. Although your personal style is important, dressing for success means business, not pleasure. If the company of your interest has a dress code policy on paper, make sure that you read it carefully. If not, pay attention to your interviewer's attire as well as what the other employees are wearing.

Whether you are self-employed, a sales representative or you just have a really conservative boss; the way you dress reflects your ability to perform the job well. Even if you work in the back office and rarely meet any clients, maintaining a professional look is still a key to your success. If you have never worked in a professional environment and you are still not sure how business dress looks like, come visit the Akhtaboot offices and get up close and personal with all 3 types of workplace attire.