Dress Up Games…

dress1UNDOUBTEDLY there are super-successful people who dress in ripped denim, sneakers and t-shirts. They are worth hundreds of millions, even more.

And on the other side, there are company executives who dress in suits and ties every day of the week. And this contrast shows the dramatic shift that has occurred in business attire in recent years, as each industry has developed its own rules.

As we were growing up we were taught to have a clear understanding of how to dress to impress. But the “business casual” dress movement has turned all of that book’s ideas into quaint nostalgia. But fair or not, dress still has an impact on how you’re seen.

I remember when I was at my first job, I made sure that I dressed properly – skirts and long pants on alternate days with blouse as that enabled me to move about freely as I needed to chase people for interviews.

Being young then, my take on dressing was, it had to be a suitable for every function/occasion. That I didn’t need to worry about changing my attires at the end of the day so I could go out for other meetings without looking out-of-place. Or I could just joined my friends checking out live bands that were aplenty in the city then. But I guess dress code for men are more straight-forward than us women. Women’s attires can be tricky. Some girls like to wear sexy dresses. That’s when we have to draw the line between acceptable sexiness or a tad overboard.

vintage_90s_grunge_dress_boho_maxi_dress_floral_dress_hippie_dress_blue_dress_tent_dress_festival_dress_gypsy_dress_sun_dress_retro_dress_1b56276bLooking back now, my office-dress evolution could be as glaring as day and night.

While wearing skirt inadvertently invite those unwanted attention, over time I slowly changed my attire into a whole range of sun-dresses and paired them up with my precious Doc Marten boots. And half of the time I would be wearing my jeans and checked shirt. All that grunge mode… You know Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and the likes…

Then Adam came along, that marked the end of my sun-dresses/grunge era.

Being a single mom I didn’t have that luxury to get picky and choosy on what dresses to buy to add onto my collection as my priority shifted focused on my baby.

By then I slowly stopped following the trends and just focus on wearing something suitable and comfortable to work.

And as I aged, I discovered that I rather wear the conservative baju kurung over short skirts anytime.

As I knew all along there are unspoken rules when comes to dress up appropriately.

In fact there are so many articles and books being written to address the issue.

Here I compiled several useful tips on how to dress up to the occasion… Especially when you’re going for an interview …

  • Know your prospect’s uniform – Before you meet with a prospect, you should know that company’s dress code. “Business casual” has a lot of meanings. Call the front desk at the company and ask what the company’s dress code is and what the men and women wear.
  • Dress one step up – If your prospect is in denim, you wear khaki. They wear sport coats without ties; you are in suits without ties. The point is that you always dress one step further up the clothing ladder than your prospect, but not two.
  • It’s not just what you wear–but how you wear it – Polished shoes, pressed shirts and well-fitted pants always. Well, the reason is simple – when your clothes are pressed, buttoned down and well-fitted, you convey that you are a person who pays attention to the details and are professional
  • Grooming trumps style – Even if you’re wearing a great suit, if you’ve got a terrible haircut, you’ll give a bad impression. As crazy as it sounds, everything on the grooming punch lists – fingernails, facial hair, haircuts and oral hygiene–matter.
  • Know your company’s uniform – It doesn’t matter if the reps are presenting in a board room or on a manufacturing plant floor, they wear the sample simple uniform. Obviously, if you work at this company, you follow this dress code in order to fit in.

Blazer-for-Formal-Business-OccasionsClothes make a strong visual statement about how you see yourself. Comfort may aid productivity but, in this era of “Me, Inc.” and “the Brand Called You,” are flip-flops, sweats, jeans, and flashy or revealing clothing part of how you want to be judged? You might think you are expressing your individuality, but you could also be sending the message that you’re not a serious professional.

Appropriate dress is also a way of expressing respect for the situation and the people in it. Clothing has an effect on both the wearer and the observer. Of all things being written these below resonance a lot with my take on appropriate dressing to work. Here’s some rules of thumb…

  • Modesty is a virtue – Get noticed for your great work, not your tight pants, overdone makeup, short skirt or cleavage-revealing shirt.
  • Keep holy the casual Friday- Yes, the workweek is almost done — the key word being almost. Don’t jump the gun by wearing your weekend plans, whether that be catching some rays in a halter top and short shorts or cleaning out the garage in your college sweatshirt and cut-offs.
  • Thou shalt wear the right shoes – Your feet should look prepared for work. Skip flip-flops and other open-toe shoes. Want to be a team player? Wear flats.
  • Honor thy leaders – Not sure what is appropriate for casual Friday or a client meeting? Look around. The wisest employees often observe and take cues from the most respected individuals within their organisation on what is appropriate workplace attire.
  • Thou shalt not steal thy boss’s tie- Keep in mind that taking cues from those above does not mean replicating their wardrobe piece for piece.
  • Control thy festiveness – Wearing seasonal colours is one thing, looking like Santa’s elf is another. Your workplace wardrobe should enhance your professional skills and qualities, not detract from them.
  • Remember the good book – Whether you are questioning what constitutes an acceptable variation of a uniform or wondering about the company’s stance on jeans, chances are the employee handbook has the answer. Still trying to decide if you should cover up a tattoo? Seek the advice of a trusted mentor, human resources representative or immediate supervisor.
  • Thou shalt notice what year it is – Job well done for taking such good care of your clothing that items from 1983 are still “fine” today. Now put these relics in the Goodwill box where they should have landed years ago.
  • Err on the side of caution- Worried that your casual Friday outfit might be too relaxed – make safer choices when in doubt.
  • Dress for the job thou want – A final tidbit: No matter what age or gender, is to dress for the job we want, not the one we’re in.

business casualBusiness attire has changed significantly over the years, especially in the last 20 years. Too many people have forgotten why proper business attire is important.

Some companies prefer to allow and even encourage employees to dress freely or casually for comfort. This tends to work well in more creative work environments.

However, other companies will typically encourage and/or require a more defined and professional dress code to maintain a professional image of themselves and the business, where employees routinely interact on a daily basis with prospects, clients and business partners.

Be mindful that basic etiquette must accompany appropriate attire. Appropriate attire must be combined with basic business and professional etiquette. The two are intertwined and integrated when presenting a professional image of yourself and your company. First impressions and overall judgments about people are formed by the way they dress.

Whatever else we think about dressing for success, we need to be reminded that first impressions are everything, and we only get one chance to make a positive first impression. Adress-code-women-what-to-wear-in-the-office-640x547