Dressing for Success in the Work Place


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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Unfortunately, we don't live in a society where people can stroll into work wearing whatever they want even if their preferred style of dress won't hinder them from doing their jobs. We have to be very mindful of what we wear, because apparently we're supposed to care what people think.
Many employers frequently complain that young people are coming into the workplace inappropriately dressed. While you might be tempted to dismiss their claims as them being out of touch, chances are you want to work there again next summer or you're out of high school and seeking employment. There is a way to dress 'appropriately' while style maintaining your individual style. As such, here are some basic rules for how to dress for work:
Know the dress code for the business
Not all business places have the same dress code. I've worked somewhere that allowed jeans and a sweater everyday. I've also worked somewhere that required skirts below your knee and no bare shoulders. It really all depends on the workplace. If you don't get a dress code document make sure to ask your supervisor or HR.
Know the rule about piercings and tattoos
While personally I have no issue with them, I'm not hiring manager and if they fire you I can't help you. Some business places are totally fine with tattoos and piercings, others are not. Find this out beforehand and buy clear stubs if you need to so that your piercing doesn't close up. Or you can either try makeup or just wear clothes to cover your tattoos. You know, the same thing we've been doing since high school.
No ripped jeans
While we know they look cute, they don't like them in the workplace. Even in my very relaxed dress code workplace I couldn't wear ripped jeans.
Matching is still applicable
No one is saying you should come into work in full red or blue but matching is still in. If you're wearing brown shoes, wear a brown belt. Also, apparently men aren't supposed to wear white socks to work.
You can't go wrong with black
Okay maybe you can't dress to save your life or maybe you don't have a lot of clothes, that's okay. Just make sure you have pants or skirts in black. Black goes with literally anything. If you wear a black bottom and a bright coloured top, you'll look like you can dress but still blend in and not draw negative attention to yourself.
Don't be afraid to accessorize
While most places don't like flashy jewelry, a simple necklace, a watch or a fashionable statement belt can give you your sense of individuality back. Less is generally more when it comes to accessories. Work places also tend to prefer accessories that don't make a lot of noise so no bangles or gaudy earrings. They hate big hoops too and some workplaces won't allow men to rock earrings.
Workplaces love conservative dressing
Most workplaces prefer people, particularly women to dress conservatively because you know an exposed knee or shoulder would stop you from doing your work. While you might hold more modern views, chances are arguing with your boss about this won't change a thing, it's their place and they can do whatever they want. Just wear a fashionable cardigan, or a cute jacket to cover your 'deadly' shoulders. And you don't have to wear skirts to your ankle, if they gave you an exact measurement, for example: 2 inches below the knee, follow it but make sure it's a nice skirt that fits you well and one you actually like. You'll be saving the human race by keeping your knees hidden, you're a hero.
Always look presentable
I know presentable looks different for different people. However, what I'm referring to is not wearing ripped stockings, making sure your clothes are ironed, making sure your shoes are shined and that your hair is combed.
Hygiene is the most important
You could look like the poster boy/girl for best dressed employee, but if you don't smell right, it overshadows everything. I know it's summer and for those of us who have to walk and take the bus, sweating is inevitable. Upgrade to a stronger deodorant, wash your armpits with baking soda and scrubs your arms with soap and a rag in the morning, never skip a shower. I also find that walking with your bag on your back tends to make you sweat way more, carry it in your hand if you can. Hygiene extends to brushing your teeth too. Also, don't underestimate how drying AC can be, carry lotion.
Hopefully business places will generally relax their dress codes over time, as some have already started. However, you can't let your attire stop you from securing the bag: play the game until you can change it.
If you're on a budget and feel as though you can't afford the right clothes to look good, don't worry, you can check out my blog post'Dress for Work on a Budget'. For other budgeting and savings tips, check out my blogGoody on a Budget.
-- Trevann Hamilton

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