Dress For Success – A Primer

You are what you wear!

Do you dress for success?  Are you carefully choosing your outfits each day, or do you just grab whatever is clean and throw it on? Your appearance will come before all else when working in a face to face environment.  You can have the very best credentials and tons of experience in your particular field, but if you show up to work looking like you’re ready for a cocktail party, or even worst, a slob, you will likely not be taken very seriously.


Dress Codes

The workplace dress code has been a topic of discussion that has come up at every single organization I have been a part of.    I’m all for creativity and expressing individuality, however, there are some unwritten rules when it comes to corporate attire.  Work is not the place for you to show your “assets” off in detail, unless you happen to be a fashion model, dancer, actress, other arts professional or perhaps a bartender, etc.

The industry, company age and size definitely tend to dictate the acceptable work wear.  Older, larger corporations in the banking, oil and publishing industries generally adhere to a very rigid standard.  Suits and ties are the norm.  Newer startups often advertise the lax dress code and casual atmosphere in their job postings.  “Wear flip flops and sweatpants everyday!”


Observe Others and Emulate

It’s always helpful to observe employees at a firm or company before and after the interview, so you can get an idea of how formal the dress is.  One rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not just the one you have.  To follow this, it’s crucial to observe those who are in the role you are dreaming of.  Sometimes you can look foolish, if there’s a huge difference compared to what your peers are wearing.  In that case, it’s probably best to find some middle ground.  Throw a nice jacket or sweater on, but avoid the whole suit, if your peers are dressed down, while the execs  are dressed to the nines.