Dressing for Success at Work

When you master the art of making an impression, it can have an impact on your career. Studies have found that wearing a lab coat like a doctor can help you to focus more and that athletes who wear red rather than blue can lift more weight.

The point is, what you wear matters. In fact, every aspect of your appearance matters, from your haircut down to the shoes you wear and the analog watch on your wrist. Here are some tips for dressing for success at work.

Choose the right style

The style of clothing you choose to wear to work should suit your occupation. You need to always keep the company’s dress code in mind. Is it fashionable, casual or conservative? You can still be versatile within the boundaries.

You shouldn’t dress in casual shorts and a shirt if you’re working in a corporate environment where suits are the norm. Rather stand out by the style of the suits you wear.

For instance, a suit jacket with slightly padded shoulders and a collar can add authority. Women who wear low necklines, very short skirts or tight pants to work in this type of environment may find colleagues don’t show them as much respect.

If you’re working in a tech startup with a casual company culture, you may be able to wear more casual clothing. Even if this is the case, it should always look immaculate. There’s no room for tired, old t-shirts and well-worn jeans if you’re thinking about progressing to a more managerial position.

The more creative professions will usually encourage you to exercise your individual style and creativity in your dress. Once again, you need to strike the right balance and look like an innovative, modern trendsetter rather than an outdated hippie. Show your individuality with an exclusive piece of jewelry or an unusual scarf.

Clothes must fit well

The fit of your clothing makes a difference and you should wear clothes that look as though they were made for you. Most stores offer free tailoring and you should take advantage of this. You can also have clothes custom-made for you. Of course, this is much more expensive but it may be worth your while.

Think about your body type and choose clothing that accentuates your strong points and covers your flaws. Don’t try to wear high heels if you’re going to totter around uncomfortably in them. You can still look professional and stylish in elegant flats.

Colors convey a message

Dark colors like navy, black and dark gray imply power, authority, and success. White indicates formality and sophistication. Pastels show softness and femininity. A color like brown indicates responsibility and steadiness but if you want to move upward quickly, it’s probably best to avoid brown or you may just blend into the background.

Pay attention to the detail

Small details, such as dirty nails, can instantly create a negative impression. When people look at your appearance, all the little details add up. This means a good hairstyle, a trimmed mustache or beard, manicured nails, good makeup and quality accessories.

Makeup should rather be on the natural and light side for the workplace. A light spray of perfume is better than wearing so much the whole office knows when you’re approaching. Try not to over-accessorize – the more subtle and classy your accessories the better.

Tattoos and piercings may be quite acceptable in a more casual creative company environment but may create a negative impression in a more conservative corporate environment.

Knowing that you are well put together gives your confidence a boost and makes you more than ready for any work challenge that comes your way.

Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.