Does Your Wardrobe Speak Professional?

The clothing that you choose to wear each day will play a critical role in how others perceive you as well as in your overall level of success in your career. A recent survey published by noted that 41 percent of employers surveyed indicated that those who dressed in professional, work-appropriate attire were more likely to be promoted internally. Likewise, managers also focus on attire and professional appearance when making a hiring decision. Whether your goal is to climb the corporate ladder internally or advance in your career by seeking outside job opportunities, it is important to consider if your wardrobe is professional.

Professional Women’s Attire

It can be challenging for women to find suitable professional attire that also says something about their sense of style. Some women’s clothing choices may be provocative in some way, which can be distracting for others in the workplace. Ideally, women want to choose similar clothing options as men. For example, if men will be wearing suit slacks and a button down shirt, women can wear a similar option with dress slacks or a long skirt paired with a tailored or fitted button down. The goal for many women is to retain a professional look while still looking feminine. Darker or neutral tones and solid hues are preferred over bold prints and bright colors in most cases.

Career-Minded Men’s Attire

Career-minded men also need to pay attention to their wardrobe. Just as women should pay attention to how revealing their clothes are, the same holds true for men. For example, men should avoid unbuttoning too many buttons on their shirt or wearing pants that are too snug. Tailored, fitted clothing is preferred over loose, baggy clothing. Like women, men should opt for darker or neutral hues rather than bright or bold colors and intense prints or designs.

A Word About Hygiene and Grooming

When you want to put your best foot forward every day, you need to pay attention to more than just your wardrobe. Your entire look will create your full image, and you want to present a polished appearance every day. Keeping your hair trimmed and styled is important. Facial hair on men should be well-groomed every day. Women’s make-up should be subtle with more neutral tones rather than bold and bright. Nails on both men and women should be clean and trimmed, and if women choose to wear nail polish, it should be well-maintained and a reasonable color. Blue, green, black or other similar colors are not professional hues for women’s nails in the workplace.

Each workplace has a different atmosphere and dress policy. You can review your employee handbook for general guidance, and you can look toward the business owner and upper management for a better idea about what types of outfits are acceptable in the workplace. Keep in mind that simply because they tolerate some looks by other employees does not mean that these are preferred looks, and you should carefully select your own attire with professionalism in mind.

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