Setting yourself up for success at work requires a commitment to professionalism. While your behavior is one key facet of this, your physical appearance is also an influential factor. The way that you present yourself at work will have a lasting impact on how you are perceived. As you look to prepare for your office job, here are a few tips and tricks to ensure that you appear as the exceptional professional that you are.
Decide Down to the Details
While the way that you dress can impact your perception of professionalism, you also need to attend to the finer details. Everything from how you accessorize to down to your shoes can impact your overall look and perception. Some useful changes to make could be adding a small statement piece of jewelry, a coordinated belt, a comfortable but stylish pair of shoes or opting for a tote bag instead of a plastic, disposable bag to carry your belongings around in. While you shouldn’t scrutinize your every choice, there are smart choices that can help set you up for success.
Consider Length, Fit and Cut
For those who aren’t sure how to dress professionally, one tip is to develop an understanding of the length, fit and cut. With the right measurements, you can take a drab looking outfit to professional chic. Keep in mind that this can also work conversely and an ill-fitted outfit can look unsightly, unprepared and even unprofessional. If you want to avoid this, invest in a good tailor and you can make any outfit look fabulous.
Add Personal Touches
If you are worried that you are going to lose your sense of self in this expectation of professionalism, don’t be dismayed. You can add personal touches to your wardrobe and accessories that will allow you to express yourself, even in the most rigid of dress codes. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color or interesting statement accessory that can help you embody your full self at work without taking away from your level of professionalism.
Don’t Forget Grooming
If you want to express an exceptional level of professionalism at work, don’t forget about grooming. Everything from your hair cut to facial hair to makeup use can work in your favor or work against you if you aren’t intentional. You want to look clean, well put together and ready for the day. Never look like you just rolled out of bed and walked to work if you can help it. If you are well-groomed for work, you can make sure that your colleagues are distracted by an unkempt appearance and can focus on your hard work and results instead.
Avoid Breaking the Bank
It can be stressful to dress well for work. While it may require a financial investment if you want to remain professional, you can also dress to impress on a budget. Strategies like buying clothing secondhand, accessorizing intentionally and intelligently and choosing versatile staple pieces that you can mix and match can help you ensure that you are ready for anything at work. You may be surprised at the possibilities a few key pieces can lead to.
Understand Expectations and Culture
One of the most important components of professionalism is understanding the expectations. One aspect of this is determining the dress code. If your culture is relaxed and casual, you will not want to show up in a full suit and vice versa. While you can always present yourself as clean, put together and well-styled if you truly want to embody professionalism, make sure that you understand what is expected within your company and its culture.
Reflect the Work
For those who are unsure of what type of work clothing is suitable, you can start with your understanding of the role. By considering the expectations of the job and its interactions, you can better understand how you should present yourself. In the case of a role that has a high level of formality and client contacts, you may want to air on the side of business formal. When you consider how you should appear for work, it is important to consider the role itself, even if you are working from home.
If you aren’t sure what to wear at work, you can always ask for advice. Especially on your first day, you can directly ask what the expectations are so that you don’t clash or appear unprofessional. It is not uncommon to develop an understanding over time of what the expectations are, but if you feel completely unprepared, you can always just ask.
While you should be judged by the quality of your work and the behaviors you exhibit, it is important to understand that professionalism is also influenced by your appearance. This can have a real influence on how you are perceived in the workplace. If you want to do well at work, you need to invest time and energy into showing up with a wardrobe and look that screams success and professionalism.