No matter what type of career you have, how you dress plays a key role in how colleagues and employers interact with you. The adage “dress for the job you want not the job you have” hold’s more weight in today’s workforce than ever before. A recent survey by North Carolina State University shows that more than half of  national businesses pay close attention to what a employee wears either around the office or when meeting with vendors or clients. How you dress conveys your seriousness and professionalism on the job.

4 Tips on Dressing for Success in the Workplace

Commonplace Mistakes Among Women and Men.

Whether it’s loud jewelry, too short, tight, or trendy clothing, HR and management take notice of inappropriate clothes in a workplace. Going more conservative is always best. For example, overly done makeup on women can give off the wrong message to prospective clients or vendors. You don’t want to walk into a meeting looking as if you just stepped out of a night club. While you may be in a habit to overdo the makeup and are comfortable with it, you need to consider the values and culture of the place you are working in. For men, healthy grooming habits and taking the time to iron or press suits and dress slacks may seem obvious, but more students are coming out of college with the notion that they can dress however they like and still make an impression. Walking into a meeting with wrinkled slacks or improper hygiene sends a message to management that you do not take the job seriously and may not be fit for dealing with clients or important shareholders. Thus your “golden” opportunities may be given to someone who is willing to strike a balance between what they want and what the company needs. Employers see outward appearance as a reflection of inner personality or work ethic. Wearing a piece of clothing with stains all over it or leggings instead of dress slacks tells your employer you don’t care how people view you, even if that is not the case. You also need to remember your ultimate goals. If you want to “climb the ladder” or get a much deserved promotion, you need to take into consideration that how you dress in not only a personal reflection of your professionalism but an outward reflection of the company you work for.

Invest Time and Money.

While work clothes are more for function than fun, buying on the cheap doesn’t always serve the best purpose. Price can be directly tied to fit and quality.  Cheaper items not only wear out faster but colors fade quicker, and seams are not made as well- lending to tears and holes. Many women make the mistake of buying slacks from wholesale retailers that are too long in the seam. Pants should never drag on the floor or cover up your shoes. If you find a pair of pants you love but are too long, investing a little money to have them hemmed to the right length is money well spent. Your work clothes should fit you appropriately and be made up of classic staples that will last for years and will always be in style. Items such as a black, brown, gray and blue pencil skirts, white dress shirts (for men), wool dresses (winter wear), navy, black or gray blazers, solid color ties, and khaki’s never go out of style. Investing time and money in clothing doesn’t mean you have to break the bank though End of season sales can likely give you the higher end clothing you want at discounted prices.

Consider Your Environment.

Where you work matters greatly in how you dress for success. If you work in the field, appropriate clothing and protective gear should be your staples. While jeans may be acceptable in the field, bagging or loose fitting jeans that are frayed could cause personal injury or damage equipment. Be considerate of sleeve length when working around machinery and always wear appropriate shoes or boots. If dress code for a warehouse position state “steel toed boats”, ignoring this could damage more than your career. If you work in an environment where you are dealing with clients, vendors or million dollar accounts, then you need to stock up on suits, skirts, blazer and appropriate shirts. Always consider what those around you are wearing and never hesitate to ask what is appropriate in your particular work environment.

Be Cautious of Business Casual.

Many people misinterpret what business casual really means. While it depends on the environment, traditionally it means “not a suit.”  Your safest bets are a blazer and slacks, a sweater, scarf and nice skirt, or khakis and a polo shirt.  If you are not yet familiar with your work environment, then dressing conservatively is always the safe bet.  If you are told by a recruiter that most days at the company are business casual that does not necessarily suggest that every day is a jeans day. If jeans are allowed, pairing them with a sharp polo shirt or blouse is a great way to keep your attire semi professional. Once you are established someplace, you will have built up your reputation and work ethic and will be able to flex your business casual attire a bit more. There are always ways to incorporate trends into your outfits to show off some personality and style without looking inappropriate or offensive. Look to fashion experts and company blogs, many offer the great tips for striking on how to strike a balance between personality and business professional.

How Can WorkSource Assist Your Organization?

WorkSource wants you to be at your best in any work environment. Knowing what is important to both client and candidate helps us find the best fit for your needs. Contact our team at WorkSource today and learn how we can help you!

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