Some organizations create dress codes for safety standards or to maintain a specific image. Others may be more lenient giving their employees some freedom when it comes to workplace wardrobe. Either way, selecting work-appropriate clothing can be a balancing act. What are some best practices to stay professional and look great with your wardrobe?
Sharon Schweitzer, an international business etiquette expert, author, and the founder of Access to Culture, offers this advice:
Why should you care?
Based on a 2015 study, researchers found that those who dress formally are more likely to be seen as intelligent, feel more powerful, create better relationships within the workplace, and make better decisions.
Sending the Right Message
Your clothes selection is a prime example of indirect communication, as fashion can make or break a first impression. When choosing what to wear, remember to match the formality and style of those with whom you are meeting. If you’re uncertain, it’s better to dress up than down.
Tips on Workplace Wardrobe
• Dress with confidence, you’ll work smarter.
• Collared shirts mean business.
• If you’re unsure if something is appropriate, most likely, it’s not.
• Avoid showing cleavage, wearing tank tops, and hems several inches above the knee.
• Avoid wrinkles because it shows lack of professionalism.
• Ladies, try creating your own “work uniform” to help save time getting ready.
• On casual Fridays, dress down, but skip the ripped clothing.
Ideas for Women:
• Pressed button-up shirt
• Slacks or knee-length skirts
• Mild-color or neutral dresses
• Professional blazers
• Non-oversized jewelry and light makeup
• Low heel shoes
• Casual Fridays: neat jeans or skirt and a blouse
Ideas for Men:
• Tucked in polos and button-up shirts
• Slacks with a belt
• losed-toe and polished shoes
• Long socks in neutral tones
• Well-groomed facial hair that follows work standards
• Casual Fridays: neat jeans and a shirt without design