Dressing for Success!

Posted: February, 28, 2013 | Categories: Workplace Tips & Professionalism

Professional dress standards have not changed much over the past 50 years. '?The Suit'? still reigns supreme. Trends change over the years, but you won't go wrong with a well-made, dark, 2-3 button, light-weight wool suit. With any suit, FIT is key! And don't be fooled by someone who tries to tell you others, how you dress can effect your success.


When shopping for a jacket, consider these tips:

  • Sleeve length '“ Sleeves should land near the middle of your hand when your arms are straight down.
  • Shoulder – if it feels a little tight in the shoulders, go up a size, you can always have it tailored at the waist. Make sure it buttons easily.
  • Jacket Length '“ Ladies, midway down your hip is best.
  • Shoulder pads – Steer clear as a general rule.

MEN: For your staple suit, opt for a flat front trouser without a cuff at the hem. Cuffs and pleats come and go out of style, and can become dated. Keep lapels to a moderate width. Steer clear of any trendy 'slim cut'? or 'double-breasted'? varieties.

LADIES: 3- or 4-pc suits (blazer, pants, skirt & sheath dress) allow for so much versatility. Mix and match pieces with blouses, sweaters & accessories. Opt for light-weight wool (season-less) with 2-4% Lycra – the fit is better and more forgiving. Buy a flat front pant with no front pockets for a slimmer profile. Skirts should either hit just above (1'?) or below the knee.

It is often said that people who don't take the time to maintain a professional appearance, present the image of not being able to perform adequately on the job. Remember to treat every assignment like a job interview. Maintaining a polished and professional image at all times is essential to your future success!

The following tips will help ensure a professional dress code when reporting to an assignment:

  •  Always dress conservatively
  • Tailored, well-fitted suits and/or separates and polished shoes are a MUST
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum
  • Tights and hosiery are great, but please make sure they are free of holes or snags

Dressing for cooler weather:

  • Ladies, when swapping out your blazer for a professional-looking cardigan, make sure sweaters fit well and are free of pills, pulls and stains. If they hit below your waist, try belting them for a more polished look
  • Gentlemen, a nice pair of dress slacks, shirt, tie and merino wool v-neck sweater (in lieu of a blazer) is a classic and professional look that works in most environments

Please always refrain from wearing any of the following:

  • Denim of any color, ever
  • Sneakers, hiking boots, too-high platforms/stilettos or shoes in disrepair
  • Ill-fitting, stained, ripped or tattered clothing
  • Hats, furry vests or coats, oversized knit scarves or themed/holiday sweaters on the sales floor
  • Sundresses, plunging necklines or midriffs, shorts or cargo pants
  • Wild or distracting hair color, nail color or noisy jewelry
  • Please do not remove your tie at the job site

Adhering to these dressing for success guidelines, is one great way to make a positive and professional impression.

By JoAnne Williams
Founder, President and CEO

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