In the corporate world, first impressions are very important. If you do not put your best foot forward, your first chance to make a good impression may also be your last. While the qualifications that are listed on your resume are what secured your interview in the first place, how you present yourself in person will be a deciding factor as to whether or not you will be considered as a prime candidate for the position. Here is a look at how you can improve your professional image with an overview on how to dress for success in business.
Always Adhere to the Dress Code Established by the Office
Whether you are interviewing for a new position or just going into the office for another day of work, you should always adhere to the dress code that has been mandated by the office. Smart options include suits, dress pants paired with a nice blouse or shirt, dresses or the like. Additionally, you may want to opt for classic business colors such as black, blue, grey or white. While the quality of your work stands for a lot, your professional image is just as important.
When Unsure, Opt for Business Dress Rather than Casual Apparel
If you are ever unsure of what the dress code is for a particular office or corporate event, opt for business dress. It would be unwise to arrive at an office that adheres to a business dress code in casual attire. Your image should give your colleagues the impression that you take your role with the company seriously and you are ready to get down to business. Projecting an image of professionalism is of the utmost importance in a corporate environment.
Maintain a Clean, Well-Groomed Appearance
You could be wearing an expensive, high-end designer suit, but if it is not clean, pressed and well fitted, you are wasting your money. In the corporate world, the amount of money you spend on your wardrobe is not nearly as important as presenting yourself in a clean, well-groomed image. To maintain a positive image in the workplace, a well-groomed appearance is very important.
A Work Wardrobe Doesn't Have to be Expensive
Many professionals are under the illusion that a work wardrobe has to be expensive. You do not have to frequent high-end boutiques to purchase stylish clothing for work. Select some classic staples, and build upon your wardrobe little by little. A strong corporate wardrobe can be purchased without shelling out a lot of cash by shopping around for the best value, as opposed to only selecting high-end name brands.
A Professional Approach to Casual Fridays
A big mistake that many professionals make is dressing too casually on casual Fridays. Do not let the name fool you. Typically, casual Fridays indicate a more relaxed dress code one day a week. Some offices will allow you to adhere to a business casual dress code, while others allow jeans with dressier accessories. Items that should never be worn on casual Fridays include sweat pants, sneakers, jogging suits, t-shirts or the like. Don't take the term too literally; it's a pass to escape the business dress code for one day a week, and opt for a slightly less dressy outfit. It is important to appear professional and well-groomed, and not look as if you are ready for a lazy day at the beach.
The Bottom Line
Dressing for success in business is quite simple when you adhere to a few simple rules. Opt for classic professional pieces; maintain a clean, well-groomed image and whenever you are unsure of the dress code, over-dress rather than taking the casual route.
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