How to Dress for Success

Two Parts:Choosing Work ClothingDressing for a Promotion

You want your work to speak for itself, but visual cues are nearly as powerful as your last positive review. Human resources managers suggest dressing for the job you want, not the job you have.

Part 1
Choosing Work Clothing

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    Research company culture before you take a meeting or go for an interview. Although there are ways you can dress that are safe, asking an employee or doing a walk-by the main office will tell you if the company expects business formal or business casual.
    • In addition, it might also tell you if the employees are stylish, wear color, or don dark colors.
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    Err on the side of formality. If you can’t find out what a company or client prefers, wear a suit, polished shoes and classic accessories. You are more likely to impress by overdressing, as long as you steer clear of formal wear.
    • One expert says, always dress one step up the ladder. Attempting to dress several steps up the ladder may work against you, but dressing in accordance with your manager might put you in their favor.[1]
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    Read the dress code. Once you have a job, abide by the dress code. It will usually tell you if the company suggests casual, business casual or business formal attire.
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    Wait until your managers go casual to do it yourself. For women, wear hosiery until it is obvious that bare legs are acceptable for the management. If you work in an environment with older managers, this may appear unprofessional.
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    Wear clothing that fits. Dress wear that is too tight may look inappropriate. Clothing that is too loose can make it look borrowed or like a hand-me-down.
    • Next time you go shopping, take your hip, waist, chest and inseam measurements to improve your chances of finding tailored clothing.
    • Take loose clothes to a tailor or seamstress. Some tailors will also mend clothing to keep it looking like new.
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    Invest in good grooming as well as good clothing. Get a haircut at least every six weeks. Men should be clean-shaven or sport a well-groomed beard or mustache.
    • If you can’t afford manicures, just file your nails at home. Nails that are too long may draw the wrong kind of attention.
    • Keep your hair a natural color. If you want to dye it, opt for another natural-looking shade or highlights.
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    Avoid the most commonly frowned upon clothing. This includes flip-flops, mini-skirts, shorts, tank tops, sweatshirts and jeans.[2]
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    Wear skirts that are just above the knee or longer. Thanks to trends like pencil skirts and maxi skirts there are many good options for women to choose a feminine shape but remain professional.
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    Cover tattoos and other body art. Place spacers in piercings during the work day. Some people harbor prejudices against people with body art, so it’s not the right way to make an impression at work.

Part 2
Dressing for a Promotion

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    Invest in some designer accessories. People connect money with success, so wearing an expensive scarf, belt, watch or coat can help a boss perceive prosperity.[3]
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    Don’t wear too many designer items, unless you work in fashion. If you have a low-paying job, but you only wear designer fashions, your boss may get the idea that you aren’t smart with money or you aren’t grounded.
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    Wear clean and pressed clothing. If you don’t have the time or the ability to iron your pants and shirts, get them ironed at your local laundry. You may make up the extra expense with your next promotion.[4]
    • The same is true for business casual environments. Your slacks and dresses should not look crumpled.
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    Replace your shoes if they can no longer be shined. If they are your favorite shoes, order a new pair or take them to a cobbler to replace the soles and improve the finish.
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    Dress up for dinners, meetings and cocktail hour. Choose your outfit the night before if you know you’ll be in a rush.
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    Invest in a fair amount of white shirts and black, dark blue, grey or dark brown pants and suits. Older, more senior people tend to dress more conservatively, so use color in your accessories, rather than your basic suits.
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    Spice things up with color if the situation calls for it. If your company seems to appreciate people with good fashion sense, then try brighter colors and a few fashion pieces. If a company party is coming up and you want the CEO to notice you, pick a color dress or tie color that is a little unusual, but still conservative.

Things You'll Need

  • Hosiery
  • Razor
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Designer accessories
  • Shoe polish
  • Cobbler
  • Suits
  • Piercing spacers

Article Info

Categories: Personal Care and Style