Dress for success

By Kendall Martin

An easily forgotten aspect of effective workplace communication is appearance. Yes, your words and your actions should ultimately define your successes and growth within an organization, but how you project yourself can also play an important role in how superiors and clients perceive you and your work. Follow these guidelines for appropriate workplace appearance:

  • Avoid dressing too casually.  Many companies offer a casual Friday dress code or the opportunity to wear jeans in exchange for a charity donation. That doesn’t mean, however, that any pair of jeans is acceptable. Keep in mind that you are still dressing for the workplace and—as that old adage says—“for the job you want.” Dark, tailored denim without holes or embellishments is your safest bet. “Jeggings” (i.e. leggings made of denim or a denim-like material) are not appropriate for work.
  • Project professional image. Putting effort into your appearance can tell a lot about how you perceive yourself. A neat dresser immediately conveys the image of a polished professional. Someone with a wrinkled shirt or shaggy hair conveys sloppiness and carelessness. These images communicate to both superiors and clients what kind of work you will offer.
  • Follow your clients’ dress code. Dress in accordance with clients for off-site meetings. If you know your clients will be dressed in suits, you should follow their lead. When in doubt, wear traditional business attire.
  • Remember posture. It’s easy to get comfortable in the workplace and find yourself slouching in a meeting. Pay attention to how you carry your body during meetings and other workplace interactions. Your appearance is just as much about the confidence you project as the clothes you wear.

What dress-for-success advice has worked best for you?

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