Mark Twain said it best: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”
Well, that’s probably stretching it. You probably don’t go to work naked. But even so, there may be times when your workplace attire isn’t putting your best foot forward.
Executives are buzzing about inappropriate dress making some of their workers less promotable. It’s fast becoming one of the most talked about problems in companies. You don’t want to end up on that list.
Standards vary by profession, but here are some basic recommendations for what’s appropriate if you’re in a professional office.
Consider these things:
Ladies: Dressing for the nightclub (or the fitness club, for that matter) is not the same as dressing for work. At work, it’s conservative – no perfume, skirts right above the knee, clothes that are not too tight or pants dragging on the floor. And the biggest issue of all—if you want to be taken seriously, keep “the girls” under cover! Research shows that if you have “that line” showing even once, it tends to reduce the likelihood of advancement. Don’t make that career-limiting move.
I’m not saying you have to dress like Little Orphan Annie. There is a middle ground. It’s about looking like you could meet with a top prospect at the drop of a hat and be a respectable representative of the company.
Guys: You have it a little easier. Shirts in white or blue are best—no Easter egg colors or flashy ties. Grey, navy, or black jackets and pants complete a good professional look where you can’t go wrong. The biggest complaints with guys include not being pressed or not having hair your clean and well cut and face shaved. And by the way, Bigfoot – don’t forget to shave your neck.
Best tip of all: Watch to see what your manager wears, and start wearing that NOW if you want to ever want to be considered for a promotion. If in doubt, dress more conservatively and more professionally. A navy and black jacket will turn almost anything into a professional look. Invest in one of those.
You might say it’s not fair to be passed over if your performance is good. Let me just say it happens every day anyway because there’s an enormous subjective component to hiring and advancement, and how you present yourself and how you represent the company really does matter.
So get those neat, well-dressed ducks in a row to remove one more obstacle in your path to success!