Clothing plays a very important role in our lives. It is a known fact that people normally judge your appearance before they listen to what you have to say although appearances could be deceptive. There is clothing for various occasions. The first thing to note in deciding what to wear is your work and whether or not you have a prescribed dress code or uniform. The next thing to do before you dress, is to consider who you are; your body shape – whether you are an inverted triangle, rectangular or oval shape; your height – tall, medium or short, your skin tone – light, medium or dark and the colors that complement it.
Every organization expects their employees to dress well. Your outfit is essential for identifying which industry you belong to. Dressing appropriately does not translate to wearing business suits daily to work. A crisp white shirt teamed with a pair of dark colored well-fitted trousers can give the desired professional look. Corporate dressing does not also mean showing off expensive business suits but it means dressing appropriately in line with your organization or company culture.
Never wear casuals to work even if your work allows it. Dressing formally helps to create the right professional image. Neutral colors such as blue, grey, white, khaki, and black are guaranteed hits in a corporate setting. Avoid wearing party shirts to work. Do not wear loud colors or patterns that are too bold. Subtle colors look good in offices. Plain shirts are always in style but you can also go for shirts in stripes, checks or micro-checks. Colors such as red, yellow, orange usually are not preferred to be worn at the workplace – managementstudyguide.
Esquire.com opines that the old rules of dressing for work are entirely out the window. This is both good and bad. Good, because that means you have never had more opportunities to flex your personal style at the office. Bad, because it also means you have never had more opportunities to completely screw it up. Let us be clear, here: The fact that the strictures of office style have shifted doesn’t mean they have disappeared entirely. For the sake of your job – and your self-respect – you should still be dressing to send the right impression. But now everything depends on context. What kind of office is it? How do your coworkers and boss dress? Is a hoodie really the only thing a tech guy can wear? (The answer to that last one is no.)
According to a survey by Salary.com, only 55% of workplaces have a dress code. If your new employee orientation did not cover it, contact HR to ask about the official policy. Even if your orientation manual tells you to dress “business casual,” though, what exactly does that mean? What is acceptable – and what isn’t? – moneycrashers.
There are typically four types of corporate dress codes that I will recommend in the workplace depending on your industry: the business formal, business professional, business casual, and the smart casual.
Business formal – Business formal is reserved for the strictly formal settings such as award ceremonies, special dinners, benefits or other important evening events. Business formal is similar to “black tie,” but should be reserved to maintain professionalism. For business formal, men might wear clothing similar to “business professional” – a dark suit and tie. For this setting, a black suit is appropriate with a light button-down shirt. Wear oxford or loafer shoes with clean lines. Avoid wearing brown shoes if you select a black suit. Accessorize with belts, a tie clip or small, minimal cuff links.
Business professional – Business professional is a traditional form of attire used in more conservative settings or companies with strict dress codes. You might wear business professional in industries like accounting, banking, finance, government or law. Business professional clothes should be well-fitted and may be tailored to fit you specifically. When dressing for business professional, men should wear a dark colored gray or navy suit and tie. The tie should be simple, avoiding bright colors or busy patterns. Men should wear a button-down shirt preferably white or light-blue and belt. Pair with a professional, closed-toed shoe like an oxford or loafer.
Business Casual – Business casual is a common form of dress worn in many offices. While many classic business staples are used in business casual wear, there are casual elements included like khakis. Business casual is appropriate for many interviews, client meetings and office settings. Because it is not very casual and also not very formal, this is usually an appropriate way to dress if you are unsure about the setting. For business casual, men can wear trousers, slacks, khakis, button-downs, polos, or sport coats. Jackets and ties are optional but can be used to accessorize. Business casual shoes include loafers, lifestyle sneakers with leather or canvas, oxfords or boots.
Smart casual – Smart casual is another form of casual business attire with a stylish twist. You might include more trendy pieces of clothing if dressing in smart casual. This type of business attire is appropriate for more flexible offices including informal settings. You might also choose to wear smart casual in an interview for a more informal office. This way, you fit in with their informal dress code while still maintaining a clean, professional look that communicates that you care about your appearance. Smart casual for men includes items like sports jackets, ties, khakis, button-down shirts, polos, dress shoes, boots, clean sneakers and belts.
Here are 4 tips to help men dress appropriately for work:
- CONSIDER YOUR WORK CULTURE
You must pay close attention to how things work in your office especially the way people dress. Even if you find out that your office is not so formal, you might still observe that some people in leadership positions dress slightly more formally. This is a good sign to help you make a choice to start dressing similarly to the people who hold the position you aspire to reach in the future. You also become an icon or standard for your colleagues at work as you choose the best example to follow.
- SEEK CLARIFICATION
Make it a conscious effort in seeking clarification on the right way to dress whenever you are going to represent your organization, company or business. For instance, if you are going to a business meeting, ask your colleagues who may know or have met with this same person about how their offices operate and how you can appear respectful and professional during your meeting with them. You can also do a search on the internet about the organization, company or business to learn about their work culture so that you can match up to their expectation in your dressing in any meeting or engagement.
- MINIMIZE TRENDS, INVEST IN THE CLASSIC
Your work clothes stay with you for years so it is better to look classic or dress with timeless clothes than to dress in a trendy way or follow the fashion of the day. Regardless of your industry, you should concentrate on investing in the classic styles. Fashion and trends eventually die away with time but the timeless clothes will remain relevant any day and anytime. When you buy easy to combine timeless or classic clothes, you are able to produce different styles and save yourself some money that you can invest into something else. You do not need many clothes for your work outfit. You just need the right combination and that can make your clothes look new to people every time you go to work.
- APPROPRIATENESS MATTER
There are different styles of business attire for different settings or occasions that you may utilize. You must however pay attention to each dress code and how applicable it is. You can observe other people’s style of clothing or ask around if you need to be sure. In any setting, especially when it comes to dressing up for work, avoid oversized or busy accessories and any clothing with profanity or possibly offensive imagery or phrases. Dressing appropriately can help you be seen as a professional employee who cares about their success in the role. It will also be plus for you if you are an employer because your clients will feel more comfortable if you go and meet them for an engagement and you are dressed to match their industry.
What you wear identifies you, it is how you present yourself to the world. To present yourself as the professional that you are in whatever field of work you find yourself, you must remember to pay attention to yourself as I mentioned in the beginning. Get to know your physique, height and the types of clothing that is suitable for it; and your skin tone and the colors that complement it. When you understand the best aspect of your physique, it helps you determine what to wear so that you are able to dress well to meet your organization’s work culture and your clients’ endorsement.
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Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Soft Skills Expert, Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Soft Skills Expert and Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.