Five Tips to Dressing to Impress in the Office

Five Tips to Dressing to Impress in the Office

Moving up the career ladder is something aspired to by most professionals — with promotions come raises, perks, more responsibility and ultimately a better lifestyle. However, there is no fixed recipe for moving up the ladder. There are, however, certain things you can do that will definitely improve your chances of success. Most of the factors are related to performance, hard work and making an impact that significantly improves business or operations at your company. These are all obvious prerequisites to career growth, but sometimes they alone are not enough. So, what else should you be doing? A more nuanced contributor to your success is how you present yourself.  If you are not able to convey the value you bring to your organization, to your peers and your boss, they may go unnoticed. Communicating in the corporate environments is an art.  No loud speaker is loud enough to get your point across. Effective communication involves subtlety and building goodwill with those around you. Being perceived as a show-off who always brags or exaggerates achievements can backfire.  And, people must like you to fully accept your message. One of the most neglected factors in corporate environments is self presentation in terms of dressing and hygiene. Working in team environments at close proximity means we must be very conscious of how we look and smell. People have been known to avoid colleagues with bad odor. Likewise, leadership roles are often assigned to people who can stand in front of customers and large groups and look the part they are playing. Credibility comes from actions and also being able to physically convey importance. Professionals typically spend very little time analyzing how they are perceived based on their appearance, attire and demeanor. This is critical and frequently overlooked. 
Here are five tips that may help

1. Dress professionally For men wearing ironed dress shirts and formal pants, coupled with nice polished shoes, fit the business casual environment. You can dress things up by adding a tie, as needed when you have meetings or are making a presentation.  Buying nice business clothing can be expensive but you can get great deals, like the one being run on at a 30% discount. Women should wear business casual clothing, which can be a nice shalwar kameez or pants and shirt/kurti combination.  However, avoid wearing excessively tight clothing or creating a distraction that may prevent male colleagues from taking you as a serious professional.

2. Groom your hair While some people like to express their artistic inner self by getting rock ‘n roll haircuts, spiked hair and perhaps looking like a poodle in an exquisite dog show doesn’t resonate professionalism.  Try not to draw negative attention by trying too hard — make sure you hair is cut, combed and clean! 

3. Wear deodorant, but not too much! With the summer months fast approaching, it is humane to sweat.  However, wearing deodorant with an antiperspirant will ensure that people do not run away from you once you are inside the office. There is nothing worse than “accidentally” not being invited to important meetings because people don’t want you to smell up the conference room! At the same time, please remember that perfume is NOT a substitute for deodorant. And, it is equally annoying to wear a too much strong perfume; try to smell pleasant and neutral. 

4. Shave! For men, there is sometimes a tendency to look cool by not shaving or experimenting with strange permutations of half beards and unusual hair patches on the chin. A groomed beard can look very professional and clean shaven men also build credibility. However, be deliberate with your facial hair and try not to look like you just woke up or are coming out of a rave party!

5. Easy on the makeup! For women, tasteful makeup can make a big difference. However, again the same principal of not attracting too much attention in a negative way applies. Excessive makeup, too much lipstick, too much perfume — all of these will negate your business image and move shift the focus. You should not look like you are going to a wedding! Paying attention to these simple suggestions can go a long way in improving your personal branding and credibility at the workplace. Along with strong performance, you need a strong image and communication to get yourself noticed and to give you the edge as you move up the corporate ladder
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