When you first start working after finishing your education, or even if you work while still studying, dressing appropriately for work could become an issue given the differences in the casual college environment on the one hand, and the professional work environment on the other. Young women used to wearing casual clothing while studying, may often find it difficult to dress appropriately for the professional workplace.
As an employee, your image and comport create client perceptions about your company and dressing appropriately is an important component of this! Hence, most companies have dress codes as part of their HR policies to restrict casual or sloppy dressing at work. Here are a few pointers to help young women dress appropriately for professional work.
A professional wardrobe and proper grooming:
- Wearing dirty, worn-out, threadbare or wrinkled clothes to work is inappropriate as this shows that you are lazy and/or not serious about your work, image and company.
- Another important point is to dress according to your work/profession. For example, in the healthcare industry, your scrubs or uniform should be clean and neatly ironed; in the world of corporate business, women should wear business suits of good quality, with a neat and tailored look. No skirts which are too short or too tight or shirts or blouses which show too much cleavage! But looking professional does not mean compromising on comfort or wearing clothes that look good on you.
- Proper grooming is also an important part of dressing appropriately for professional work. Glamorous jobs, such as those in the fashion or hotel industries, require you to look well-groomed and presentable at all times. They’ll usually have a personnel training department which provides guidelines on proper grooming and the need to dress appropriately. Shabby or uncombed hair, garish or glittery makeup, etc, are a strict no-no, as are chunky or flashy jewelry and accessories.
- A young woman wearing a good suit or skirt with a decent hemline or trouser along with a nice shirt or blouse, jacket or matching footwear, the subtle makeup and a professional hairdo, gets more attention and appreciation in comparison to the shabby-haired, dull-faced woman!
Dos and don’ts:
- The use of three business suits that are interchangeable with tops or blouses or different shades and prints could work wonders.
- Use a scarf to accessorize your outfits.
- Avoid heavy makeup, jewelry or the use of strong perfumes.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure of your body, skirts way above the knee or tops with plunging necklines or made of transparent fabrics, are considered unprofessional and provide the wrong impressions to your colleagues and clients.
- Choose colors that are sober and suit your skin type. Avoid using too many bright colors or patterns! The most common colors for business professionals are black, grey, blue, brown and other neutral shades.
- Footwear with a little heel portrays power and makes you stand tall in a crowd!
- Avoid wearing strappy or open-toe shoes unless it is acceptable in your workplace.
- Flip-flops, chunky sandals or sneakers are a strict no-no! In case you wear stockings, ensure they are not worn out or torn.
The secret to dressing appropriately in the corporate world is to avoid wearing clothes or accessories that are too loud, colorful or funky. Err on the side of caution when it comes to your work wardrobe and you’ll always be in the "safe zone" if you follow the guidelines in this article. Dressing appropriately and professionally will take any young woman places in her career and ensure success!