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If business casual is your dress code, its imperative you strive for is a well-coordinated, finished look that has style,
For many companies, what was intended for employees as a company perk
or as a way to conduct business in a more relaxed environment - has
backfired into an occupational hazard. I'm talking about Business Casual or Dress-Down Days.The problem is that too many
business professionals look like they are dressed for weekend
relaxation rather than serious business. This hazard has been
the demise of many employees who should reach higher levels only to be
held back because of lack of presence.
If business casual is your dress code, it's imperative that you strive
for a well-coordinated, finished look that has style, and
coordination. When you dress for success, you feel empowered,
gain more respect and make faster career advancements by looking your
Use the following as a business casual guide to project a professional yet casual image:
- If it doesn't fit, don't wear it. Squeezing into a size 8 may
feed your vanity, but it will make you appear overfed to everyone
else. Shop by FIT, not by size. If you can't sit down or
feel like a trussed up turkey, you're not going to feel your
best. Why put yourself through that kind of torture? Find
clothes that fit or have them tailored to fit and stack the cards in
- Since you wear different clothes for different activities in you
life; your makeup should change as well. Just remember that
inappropriate makeup includes not wearing makeup. The first basic
rules are: Light for day, heavier for evening, sheer for sports
or other strenuous pursuits.
- You'll look taller and trimmer by matching the color of your hose
to your shoes and your hem. Wearing a black skirt and
shoes? Wear sheer black hose. Have a bright blue dress and taupe
shoes? Go for the taupe-colored hose. What? You only wear
black hose because they hide things you don't want people to see?
Well, guess what: unless your whole outfit's black, you're CALLING
ATTENTION to your legs. If that's not what you want, it's time to
rethink your plan.
Pay attention to all the details of your professional presence:
clothes, hair, makeup, and personal grooming. Why spoil your look
when looking great and professional is so easy?
- If your shoes have seen better days, find a good shoe repair shop
to give them TLC. Polish them regularly. Use a felt tip
marker on scuffs, and put a piece of soft carpet under your feet when
you drive. And most importantly, invest in a good pair if you're
going to wear them every other day.
- Keep your nails clean and evenly trimmed. To make repairs
quickly, keep a clipper and a nail file in your purse and at your desk
at work. Paint over chips or remove all polish. If you're
in a business environment, stick with conservative nail polish colors
at work and save the sparkly/neon/funky looks for weekends and
vacations. Dragon-lady lengths are never appropriate for business.
- Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservatively styled.
Ladies, banana clips, brightly-colored scrunches or elastics, and
cheerleader-type ponytails look out of place in a business environment.
You may want to wear your hair in an up-do, pull it back into a low
ponytail, or wear a barrette (this suggestion does not include the tiny
little barrettes that only hold the front of your bangs back). The idea
is to look polished and professional, not to advertise what a creative
genius your hairdresser is.
- Think twice about wearing jeans under any situation when you are
working. Even if your company finds them acceptable, they don't
send the message, I am a professional.
- Keep the following items for your weekend or at-home wardrobe
only: zip-front hooded sweatshirts, team jackets, jean jackets,
t-shirts with slogans, midriff-baring tops, tank tops, well-worn jeans,
spandex pants, stirrup pants, overalls, biking shorts, sweat pants,
mini skirts, see-through tops, halter tops, flip-flops (even if they
have rhinestones), sneakers, sandals, baseball caps, clothes that are
too sexy, t-strap blouses or low-cut tops.
is president and founder of First Impression
Management, a national business etiquette training and consulting firm,
helping individuals to excel in all aspects of their professional
presence, online at www.firstimpressionmanagement.com
or at 561-395-0256
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