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Polishing your Professional Appearance


Organizations have evolved over the years, and so have perceptions as to what is and is not acceptable to wear in the workplace. Your personal appearance creates the first impression that others have of you and therefore how you present yourself is just as important as well you perform on the job.

Polishing your professional appearance does not have to be time consuming or expensive and the following are a few things to consider when refining your style:    

Too much of a good thing. Excessive make-up, fragrance or accessories are not appropriate for the workplace. All can be too distracting and give off the wrong impression that you are more suited for the club rather than the office.  

Pay attention to the details. A clean shaven face, trimmed nails and styled hair all give the impression of being pulled together. That is always a great confidence boost.

It’s all in the accessories. Quality shoes, bags and watches always get noticed. Make sure shoes are free of scuffs and worn down heels and that watches are classic and in working order.   

Casual does not mean sloppy. On those days when it is acceptable to skip the suit and tie, choose pieces that are classic and polished. Flip-flops, sweatpants or shorts should never be worn to work. Ever. 

Take notice of upper management’s dress code.  Make a quick study of the way management dresses. This is how you need to look if you would like to be at that level.

Never lose your sense of personal style.  Do wear those clothes that are most flattering on you and those that give you the confidence to be the best you can be.

ASK A MENTOR

Personal style is a personal preference. However some trends seem to push the envelope as to what is appropriate to wear in the office. The next time you meet with your mentoring partner, plan to discuss what your office deems as suitable attire and what should be saved for the weekend or a night out. 

Here are a few topics to discuss:
  • Is the organization typically conservative or a bit laid back?
    • Are other offices within the organization different in their level of dress?
      • Which ones and how?
  • Does casual Friday exist? And does management dress down on those days as well?
  • How does management judge tattoos? Should they be covered while at work?
  • What types of clothing are definite no-no’s in the organization?  
  • What is appropriate dress when visiting other organizational locations?