The way you dress, style, and present yourself can either leave a positive or wrong impression to your interviewer, client, or audience. Some people consider unprofessional clothing offensive or insulting, so this may play a role in how people will perceive you.
Dressing professionally can be vague and tricky, but it's never too late to learn how to pick a suit, blouse, slacks, shoes, and accessories. To help you look sharp and formal, here are some tips on how to dress professionally, show commitment, and carry yourself confidently.
These 16 tips are a great starting point, and if you want to learn additional ways to pick flattering clothing and look your best, check out helpful resources like https://thebetterfit.com/.
Pick Rich Colors and Avoid Flashy Clothes
Darker colors convey a stronger presence, and they usually prevent you from blending in with the background. Be cautious with flashy and bright-colored clothes because these can be distracting and look too loud.
Only use accessories that complement your clothing and will make your ensemble more professional. Accessories can accentuate your best features, but keep the accessories to a minimum.
- Wear only one ring per hand.
- Select a suitable dress watch.
- Don't use dangling earrings.
Don't Wear Strong Perfume or Cologne
Use cologne or perfume sparingly. A strong fragrance may cause a distraction or an allergic reaction. When in doubt, skip the perfume.
Invest in Well-Fitted Clothes
Spend time trying on clothes to make sure that your outfit remains well-fitted. Too big or too small can make you look lousy.
Keep Your Shoes Clean and Polished
You don’t need to go out and buy a new pair, just remember to clean and polish your shoes to keep them in good condition.
- For men, stick to classic dark-colored or lace-up shoes that match your belt and other accessories.
- For women, opt for low pumps or flat shoes that will not make your feet the focus. Wear closed-toe high heeled shoes that you find comfortable
Cover Tattoos and Remove Other Body Piercings
Hide visible tattoos to avoid any distractions. When you need to go to an interview, meeting, or presentation, remove other facial and body piercings for a while. You can always put them back after work.
Style Your Hair Neat and Trim Facial Hair
Some companies or clients prefer traditional colored hair. Save your multi-colored or highlighted hair for another time.
- For women, the bottom line is to keep your hair neatly styled, whether you choose to tie it up or let your hair fall.
- For men, think whether long hair, bushy beard, or a mustache will work for you.
Mind Your Bags
A handbag for the ladies and a briefcase for gentlemen must balance style and practicality. Some companies perceive backpack as too juvenile, so better invest in a professional-looking bag that can keep all your belongings safe and organized.
Add Coats or Blazers
You can play with coats and blazers to bring additional aura to your outfit. Wear tailored blazers and a full-length coat over your suit.
Professional Dressing Tips for Women
Wear Conservatively Tailored Tops
Although it is now acceptable to be more experimental when choosing tops, women who want to dress professionally may still opt for traditional blouses or sweaters. The goal is to prevent people from not looking into your face.
- Don't wear transparent or tight-fitting tops.
- Avoid revealing waistlines, short hemlines, exposed undergarments, or plunging necklines.
- Cover your shoulders as much as possible.
Formal Skirt or Pants
Women usually wear knee-length skirts, but it is now acceptable to wear longer or shorter dresses. Solid-colored bottoms are preferable, but you can also experiment with patterned bottoms as long as they are not too distracting.
If you think you will become uncomfortable exposing your legs when you need to sit, another excellent option is to wear good-fitting pants.
Know the Right Pantyhose Color
You can go safe with a plain-style, nude, non-patterned hose, but remember that the color must be appropriate for your skin tone. It must also complement your skirt or pants, as well as shoes.
Go for Natural Makeup and Nails
Apply natural-looking makeup for a more professional vibe. Avoid dirty or chipped nails, and use only clear nail polish.
Professional Dressing Tips for Men
Select Complementing Suit and Dress Shirt
Safe colors include black, gray, or navy blazer and dress slacks. For example, pair a navy blazer with gray dress slacks. Your shirt dress must be contrasting with your tie and jacket. In this case, use either a light blue or white dress shirt.
Wear Coordinating Ties and Belt
Look for a silk-like tie and leather belt that will match with your suit and shoes. Not only should the tie match with the suit, but it also should contrast with your shirt's color.
Use Calf-Length Socks
May it be calf-length or above length, make sure to pick colors such as black, gray, or dark blue.
Dress Professionally to Impress
Dressing professionally does not mean going fancy, sometimes it's also about keeping the look simple and appropriate for the situation. Consider how you can create an ensemble that will balance comfort and professionalism. Remember, the way you style can leave a lasting impact.