Dress like a boss

Wondering how to start working on your career image? You’re not alone because most companies don’t have specific guidelines about what to wear to work. One of the best clues to understanding company dress policy is to see what your boss wears.

Wondering how to start working on your career image? You’re not alone because most companies don’t have specific guidelines about what to wear to work. One of the best clues to understanding company dress policy is to see what your boss wears.

Just think about the styles that the highest-level woman in your organization wears and use them in your wardrobe. Does she wear mostly skirt suits? Or does she rely on pantsuits? Does she wear hose or bare legs? Open-toed shoes or pumps?

If you don’t have a reliable female executive to emulate, then trade on what the men are wearing. If they don suits and ties every day, your best bet is to use pantsuits and skirt suits: the most formal of business looks.

Some organizations encourage employees to dress as well or better than their customers, especially for sales people and others that meet clients outside the office. For information technology professionals, this may mean corporate casual (more on this below), for pharmaceutical sales it may mean a pantsuit, for a lawyer it may mean a matched skirt suit. One way to always be prepared is to keep an extra “meet the client” outfit at the office for surprise meetings.

Career Killers

Avoid sexy see-through lace, miniskirts, spaghetti straps, sheer sundresses, strappy stiletto sandals. Do not dress too casually like jeans, shorts, T-shirts, hats, sneakers. Try not to be sloppy like wrinkled/torn/baggy clothing.

Business Dress Codes

Formal business attire- for women this constitutes business suits (a matched skirt and jacket) and, in most workplaces, pantsuits (matched pants and blazer).

Closed-toe shoes (no sandals), blouses, hose and conservative hair, simple jewelry and makeup are expected.

Corporate casual looks-working women have interpreted this as everything from shorts to sundresses, but in its most literal sense it means “smart business.” Dressy pants and a blouse, sleek jersey knits and skirts and tops are all examples of corporate casual.

Casual Friday - depending on the business, this can mean anything from corporate casual to actual casual.

 

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