In this special article, we walk you through a crash course of unique tips on how to dress for success in any business. We wanted to focus on lessor known professional styling advice and are hopeful that you’ll learn something new to bring to your business wardrobe.
Let’s get started!
Color Matters in Business
Color psychology in business is important because there are specific colors that influence our emotions and perceptions. While the reactions to individual colors vary from person to person, it’s worth your time to get the overall impressions of colors.
Business Insider shares the best and worst colors to sport in a business professional setting and their general meanings.
- Black = Leadership
- Blue = Team Player
- Gray = Analytical
- White = Organized
- Brown = Dependable
- Red = Power
- Green/Yellow/Purple/Orange = Creative
Consider what qualities and characteristics you want to exude and choose a color that best fits your professional intentions.
Avoid Showing Too Much Skin
This rule isn’t just for the ladies; some men can be equally negligent in showing too much skin at the office. Wearing revealing clothing can give way to issues that lead to discrimination and uncomfortable tension in a business setting. If you want to exude a professional image, you should eliminate these clothing pieces from your business wardrobe:
- Low Cut Blouses
- Tank Tops
- Spaghetti Strap Tops
- Flip Flops
- Mini Skirts
- Short Shorts
- Tube Tops
- Strapless Dresses
A quick way to test your office outfit is to ask yourself, “Could I wear this to the beach? A nightclub? The Gym? To Bed?” If you answer, “yes” to any of these questions, you better change into something more professional before heading into the office.
Clean Out Your Closet
It’s hard to throw away favorite pieces from your business wardrobe. However, once your clothes become visibly aged, you must fight the urge to continue to wear them. Try to make a habit of cleaning out your closet on an annual or semiannual basis to avoid wearing clothes that have passed their expiration date.
Get rid of all items that have stains, holes, frays, missing buttons, faded colors or worn fabric areas. Throw any spoiled garment away, even if you think that no one will notice. The truth is, people will notice that your shoe heel is horribly scuffed or that you’re trying to hide a coffee stain on your cuff.
Visit GQ Magazine’s, The Ultimate Guide to Making Your Suits Last Longer, to learn hacks on how you can lengthen your professional suit’s lifespan.
Dress for Your Customer
A popular tip on how to dress for success in any businessis trying to mirror your customer’s fashion style. You don’t want to go overboard and copy their style, that’ll be weird. Just try to dress down or up depending on what you’ve observed from that client’s appearance in the past.
People tend to like and trust what is familiar to them. By following their dress code, you’ll create a comfortable environment for them to better receive your ideas and proposals. If your client always wears a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and blazer when conducting business, opt for the more business casual look. If your corporate client is always dressed in tailored business suits, chances are they’re expecting a qualified professional to suit up as well.
If you’re meeting a customer for the first time, use your common sense and your industry knowledge to rule out certain looks.
Learn Your Body Type
We all come in different shapes and sizes; that lesson was taught to us back in grade school. However, have you ever done specific research as to what types of clothes look best on your body type? Did you know that vertical stripes make you seem taller while horizontal stripes give the illusion of a broader frame?
For male business professionals, we suggest reading: A Guide for Men on How to Dress for Your Body Shape. For female business professionals, we suggest learning more by reading: The Complete Female Guide to Dressing for Your Body Type.
Knowing how to dress your shape will help you to look and feel more confident in a business setting.
Actively Monitor Your Odor
Have you ever gone to lunch and came back to the office carrying a foul food odor with you? Can your colleagues still smell your perfume or cologne after you’ve left the conference room? Do you wash your hands and pop a mint every time you put out a cigarette?
It’s important for you to respect those around you and constantly monitor any odors that might be causing disturbance. Some people are highly sensitive to strong smells and you should do your best to keep your aroma pleasant. You also don’t want to run to the other extreme, bathing in your perfume or cologne to mask smells. Colleagues with allergies, asthma or respiratory issues could be majorly impacted by your scent.
Follow these quick rules to ensure that you’re not releasing a disagreeable odor.
- Choose a subtle fragrance that isn’t too heavy or strong.
- Apply perfume or cologne to a maximum of 2 pressure points.
- Combat bad breath with gum or mints.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol prior to meeting someone.
- Avoid lunch selections that contain: garlic, onions, tuna, horseradish, gyros or Indian curry.
Wrinkles Won’t Work
Business professionals need to take the time to iron out the wrinkles in their clothes. Strangers, colleagues and customers will make snap judgments if you show up to a business meeting with wrinkles. As a society, we have adopted the idea that if you don’t iron your clothes, you’re not put together, tidy or neat.
There are tons of life hacks online that give a variety of options to get wrinkles and creases out of your clothes without an iron. For instance, you can hang your clothes in the bathroom while you take a shower in the morning. The steam from the shower will help remove wrinkles after about 10 minutes and doesn’t add time to your morning routine.
Dress for Success and Success Will Follow!
We hope you’ve learned a few new tips on how to dress for success in any business industry or field. Comment below if you have any additional tips that our community can benefit from.