It is annoying to have to conform to the unspoken rule of the proper dress for success, however one must remember that how you dress in the work setting represents both yourself and the company, that being said if your company as a dress code you must adhere to it. By following the tips below, you will be sure to be treated as professionally as you appear.
Make sure it fits
Don’t wear huge suits or too small skirts, and showing off too much cleavage (girls) is distracting and inappropriate.
Don’t be too flashy
Men don’t seem to have this problem, but ladies if you wear a low(ish) cut blouse, make sure your skirt is of appropriate length and does not ride up when you sit down. Also keep that midriff under wraps and make sure no part of your bra ever shows.
Men, do not wear ankle socks with a suit, as when you sit down you should not be able to see any skin (you can wear funky socks if you want, but nothing crude or white, of course).
A little goes a long way
Too much fragrance does the opposite of why you wear it in the first place – stick to the rule of three (sprays) and if you are overpowered by scent, so is the person next to you.
Don’t buy everything at once. Tempting though it may seem to buy everything at once, you should begin with a backbone work uniform. For example a pair of trousers, a pencil skirt, a dress, a blazer, two blouses and a pair of (walkable) shoes for women, and one suit, two shirts, one tie and a pair of oxfords for men. From there, you can see what you like on other people and have the funds available to spend on different items (please never denim).
Invest in good stockings
Or tights if you are a UK visitor, and pantyhose if you are reading from the USA. Cheap stockings will rip as you are getting them on, but the more expensive ones are made to last for at least three or four uses (or more with short nails). It goes without saying, but never wear stockings with open toe shoes, black or nude stockings, never do it.
Many people feel that no one will notice what shoes they wear. After a few minutes of speaking to someone, their eyes will wander and yes, they most definitely will notice your shoes. Make sure they are polished, in good condition (if in doubt throw them out), not too high (women) and never wear Crocs or Velcro in the office (guys).
Unfortunatley, the unwritten rule is to keep the colours you wear muted (pastels are ok), so nothing bright (especially neon) and patterns should be subtle and classic. Accessories should be minimal and not cheap looking, as flashy is distracting. Always remember what Coco Chanel said, ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’ – less is always more.
Ladies and gents, the brush is your friend. Ladies, keep makeup on the neutral side and hair neat and off the face. Gentlemen, make sure you hair is not too shiny with gel, and keep that beard trimmed regularly and kept looking professional (a bushy beard is not suitable for the business world).
Use a tailor
A tailor can tell you your exact measurements and will suggest corporate clothing for you (they are professionals after all).
Quality over quantity
A well-made and more expensive suit will look, fit and feel better, and will last a long while longer than a cheaper one. Also, invest in a quality winter coat, so that you don’t spoil your whole look by wearing an orange parka on your lunch break.