Have you ever heard the phrase, “Perception is Reality”? How true of a statement do you believe it to be? Whether you are dressing for an important presentation, an interview, or traveling for business, others are watching. People DO make assumptions based on appearance so here’s what to wear to work to look the part?
Office Style Guidelines:
Suits are usually the norm – and sometimes required. Stylish, tailored, understated hues are best. You want to convey authority and trust so try not to reveal too much skin. Avoid wild prints, “loud” colors and “wild” hosiery. That doesn’t mean you have to be completely rigid. Pair your suit jacket with a silky blouse, knit tops and pencil skirts or dresses. Add accents via a scarf or belt and add personality with subdued jewelry. A white belt looks chic over a gray, black or blue shift dress.
Separates are usually the norm as most creative folks try to steer clear of anything resembling a uniform. In fact, if you are interviewing for a creative position, a full suit might be a “turn off” for some companies that pride themselves on thinking outside the box. Dress in a way that showcases your personality while still looking tailored and professional. Tailored skinny slacks; a blazer with a vibrant hue or a unique cut; a sassy leather bootie; a chunky bracelet and a statement necklace are excellent ways to jazz up your separates and show your creativity in a professional manner.
This gets a little tricky because some individuals always take this a bit too far. If your office is casual, that doesn’t mean sloppy nor does it mean you should dress as if you could go to a club, gym or beach without changing. Dress comfortably but wrinkled, ratty, dirty, sloppy or “sexy” is not what your company meant when they drafted the attire section of their handbook. This dress code is not an excuse to let everything slide. No matter how laid back the culture is, you’re still at work. You want to maintain a professional mind-set. Calling attention to what you are wearing rather than what you’re doing will most definitely set you up for not being taken seriously. Very low cut tops and super short skirts/shorts are still a no-no in any workplace. If you wear jeans, pair them with a blazer, heels, jewelry to keep it balanced. You’ll look more polished and approachable. (If you could go to a club, gym or beach without changing – you’ve gone too far).
Your clothing should travel well but also show you’ve made an effort. Sweatpants & UGGs® are tempting if you’re going to sit on an airplane most of the day but please fight the urge and make a bit of an effort with your wardrobe. You never know who you will run into and you could be traveling with colleagues. A lightweight cardigan over a cotton T-shirt, tailored black trousers, a cozy scarf for extra color & warmth, ballerina flats (easy to remove at security check points) will wear well. If weather requires a jacket, a classic black trench coat looks great day or night. Later, at the meeting, you can pair your cardigan with a crisp white button down, a chunky necklace and heals. For dinner with clients, a jersey dress packs well & won’t crease. Flat riding boots are also great travel companions.
Are you employed in the professional workplace that calls for a type of attire we didn’t address? What have you observed in your workplace in regards to how your peers may be interpreting the dress code? We’d love to hear your feedback.
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