Career & Radar

DRESS TO SUCCESS: FASHION CHOICES: HOW IT HELPS OR HINDERS YOUR CAREER

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Many of you might not have realized the importance of looking earnest yet. Appearance is the first thing you communicate to others. Before you have a chance to speak, others notice how you dress and draw conclusions about you accordingly. In the workplace, this is more important than you might think. Looks is what reflects one’s personality and attitude. It might not seem fair, but it is what makes the first and most lasting impression.

Dressing appropriately is one of the most important factors in any line of work. Your attire creates an impression that can complement your credentials and give you an extra edge over a field of other qualified competent individuals.

There are standards of dressing up in all career fields. Some industries are more traditional, such as banking, consulting and business firms. Whereas, attires in fields such as advertising, the arts, fashion, communications and entertainment is generally less conservative, so the rules are a bit more relaxed. Their dress code may lean more towards a business casuals.

But above all, no dress code can cover all contingencies so you must exert a certain amount of judgment in your choice of clothing to wear to work.

The lists tell you what is generally acceptable and not acceptable as business casual/formal attire.

Business Formal Wear

The Proper Shoes: Starting from the ground up, appropriate-fitting footwear is the first step to dressing sharp. Potential mates are neither impressed nor turned on by men in sandals, so suit up. A good pair of dress shoes will last you years and stay good-looking with nothing more than some light cleaning and the occasional shine.

Look beyond Denim & Replace T-shirts with Polo’s and Sport Shirts: Well cut and classically styled trousers will make you look a little sharper at social occasions than jeans. You can also get wool or cotton trousers much lighter than blue jeans, which is a blessing in any kind of warm weather. A good polo in a simple, dark color is always presentable and always flattering if it’s fitted well. You can also opt for buttoned short-sleeved shirts.

Check the fabric: It’s quality over quantity, so buy clothes that are 100% fabrics (cotton, wool, etc.). They look nicer and are more sturdy. Your goal is to improve your wardrobe with comfortable, nice-looking clothes. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

Have an array of dress shirts: A shirt can give a suit a whole new spin. Just make sure they fit perfectly.

Business Casual Wear

Semi-formal: A nice dress shirt with an optional tie, good quality chinos or trousers, and a sports coat is highly recommended.

Casual doesn’t mean sloppy: You can’t go wrong with khakis and a sport shirt or a nice sweater.

The fine lines between casuals to sloppy: Your clothing should still be neat and clean and should not extend beyond a shirt without a tie or a polo shirt and khakis. Denim, shorts, T-shirts, and open-toe sandals are not acceptable.

As details matter, gentlemen! Know how to roll your sleeves.

Grooming essentials

  • Properly groom yourself from head to toe. Hair well trimed, and should not extend below your shirt collar.
  • Facial hair should be properly groomed.
  • Make sure your fingernails are always trimmed and clean.
  • Apply some cologne that complements your personality — but don’t overdo it, as it can be a real turn off.
  • Have fresh breath, but avoid having gum or candy in your mouth. Sprays and strips will do the job.

Accessorize the right way

  • High-quality, useful accessories, like pens, briefcases, and portfolios. A leather-cover notepad looks a lot cooler than a PDA.
  • Don’t wear too much jewelry. If you want to wear jewelry, keep it down to a watch and one ring.
  • Pocket squares are meant to complement, not match. So sticking with all-white or going with some color is totally acceptable. It also diverts everyone’s eyes to your chest, not your stomach.
  • Use the sun to your advantage. Finding the right pair of sunglasses can be tricky, but they’re the perfect way to complement an outfit.

Few Faux-pas to stay away from:

  1. Carrying a backpack or fannypack instead of a briefcase or portfolio.
  2. Sunglasses on top of your head or headphones around your neck. Be sure to remove all your “transit gear” and tuck it in your briefcase before entering the lobby.
  3. It’s important to wear the right tie.: Ties should be made of silk, no less than three and a quarter inches wide with a conservative pattern.
  4. Wearing overly bright or large-patterned clothing is tricky: With the possible exception of creative fields like advertising or computer programming, it’s best to stick with navy, black or gray.
  5. Avoid wearing earrings: Men should avoid wearing any jewelry unless it is a wedding ring, class ring or metal watch.
  6. Facial piercings, tongue jewelry or visible tattoos
  7. Ill-fitting clothes. Few people can wear things straight off the rack. Spending a little extra to have your garments tailored is a worthwhile investment.
  8. Unkempt nails look extremely messy: Nails should look clean and be trimmed to a length that doesn’t leave an observer wondering how you keep from stabbing yourself.
  9. Unnatural hair colors or styles.
  10. Short-sleeved shirts, even worse when worn with a tie
  11. Men whose socks don’t match their shoes, or whose socks are too short and leave a gap of flesh when they are seated
  12. If interviewing late in the day, try to change to a fresh suit beforehand.
  13. Scuffed or inappropriate footwear.
  14. Mismatching belts and shoes is a common error.: Shoes and belts should be made of leather or leather-like materials and the best colors for men are black or cordovan.
  15. Avoid telltale signs that you are wearing a new suit. Remove all tags, extra buttons and remember to cut off the zigzag thread that keeps pockets and slits closed!
  16. Holey and unnaturally faded jeans are deal breakers. And throw your baggy or frayed jeans away, while you’re at it. When it comes to jeans, simple is better.
  17. Stop buying “small, medium, and large” dress shirts: Treat yourself with a slim-fitted shirt, and tuck it in.

Altogether, use your wardrobe to work towards being the man you want to be. Think of being well-dressed as an act of self-discipline. Caring about the way you look is not effeminate, but is a subtle display of strength – a very manly thing indeed. Stand out from the crowd. Make your style personal and rise above the rest.

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