Connect with us

Vogue & Style

Dressing appropriately for work



To be taken seriously by your employer, it’s important to dress appropriately to the workplace. 

Whether you like it or not, the way you look plays a role in your success in the modern workplace. The saying “The problem with appearance is that it translates to performance,” really comes to play in this modern workplace. Even if your boss doesn’t think that they’re thinking any less of you, they will subconsciously think it. When you don’t fit in, you’re not as accepted and welcomed. And at some point, this could hurt your chances of getting a promotion.

In today’s workplace, where casual wear is becoming increasingly popular, it can be tricky to understand the rules of appearance.

But here are some few rules to guide one on how to dress appropriately and look good for the office


  1. Understand the industry you are and what’s appropriate there

Everyone draws their lines differently and so do we have different shapes and what would fit them. You can’t dress anyhow to satisfy yourself without first considering the industry you operate in. A finance executive can’t be seen in shorts in the office serving his customers so also a medical practitioner can’t be seen wearing likewise. These are highly regulated institutions with dress code formalities and must be adhered to. Once someone flouts the rules of the code of dressing, that person is considered not fit for such an industry and may be laid off. So, if your company has a dress code, follow it. This saves you time and the embarrassment of improperly dressing.

  1. Make sure your clothes fit

It may sound obvious, but many get it wrong. If your clothes are too big or too small, they are not going to look good on you. Unfitted clothing makes one very uncomfortable as it tends to create an unnecessary attention on the wearer. To avoid this uneasiness, ensure a proper fitting to everything you wear to the workplace to enable you concentrate fully on your daily activities. A fitted clothing has a way of boosting ones confidence to perform superlatively. So always make sure you are in the right outfit.

  1. Dry your hair/ keep it neat & smelling good

Never leave your house with wet, unkempt and a smelly hair. It makes you look like you don’t have your life together, which translates to not having your career together. It also makes others uncomfortable. Now imagine sitting in an air conditioned room with someone who has wet, unkempt and a smelly hair, how unbearable that can be. This does affect the people around you alone but denigrates your personality. So don’t say you’re late for work and as such rush out of the house without properly taking care of your hair.

  1. Pay attention to your bag

You don’t want your personal things jutting out of your purse or briefcase. Keep your bag clean on the inside, especially if it doesn’t have a zipper, which allows others to catch a glimpse inside from time to time. One other thing professionals need not to do is to wear knapsacks because it looks “too collegiate”.

  1. Don’t wear strong perfume or cologne

Anything that anyone else can smell and can get choked from is not good. To get an idea of whether someone can smell you or not, ask someone you trust. Mild perfumes or colognes are the best especially in a working environment. You don’t want to end up making an asthmatic patient have an attack or even some of your colleagues getting (catching) flu due to your strong perfume or cologne.

  1. Wear well-kept, polished shoes

“One recruiter told me the first thing he notices about a candidate is his or her shoes”. Make sure your shoes are polished and in good condition. With the saying “You are addressed the way you dress,” doesn’t only refer to your clothing but your entire outlook and that include your shoes. Shoes are very essential in helping us get the complete outlook and the deserved respect from others.

  1. Pay attention to your watch

Image 5a & 5b

The one most common accessory that is noticed on both men and women is the watch. A lot of people may not know this but the watch you wear speaks a lot about you and your personality. In today’s modern working environment, everything one puts on makes a statement. A bulky watch on a man or a woman at a formal working environment is WRONG. Accessorizing yourself with watches must be clearly looked at especially in a formal setting. As ladies go in for a cute leather or chain watch and same applies to men. Bulky ones such as the ones worn by Musicians are Wrong in a formal working environment.

  1. Wear rich colors to portray authority and avoid overly flashy clothes or neon colors

Pay attention to your color choices. Darker colors usually convey a stronger impression and confidence than lighter ones. If you’re giving a presentation, make sure the color you’re wearing doesn’t blend in with the background behind you, it must stand out. Darker colors also portray confidence and fierceness.

Also, both men and women have to be cautious with bright colors. Clothes that are too flashy can be distracting and the visual equivalent of shouting and you don’t want to come across like that. Mild but not too dull color shades are much better in a formal working environment.


  1. Don’t dress to be too sexy

Not only is wearing inappropriate clothing distracting, it can also give off an inaccurate impression. Avoid too-short hemlines, too-tall heels, plunging necklines, and exposed under garments. A lot of women are oversexualized in the office due to this. People end up discrediting themselves by looking too provocative by the way they dress. Always ask yourself these questions before dressing up “What do I want to be remembered for? What I wore or what I said?”

  1. Wearing nude pantyhose must be curtailed

Ever since Kate Middleton started wearing pantyhose in public, it quickly became stylish again. It gives you a more finished look they say. Your work environment should be considered first before wearing the pantyhose. It is prohibitive in the some certain quarters of the working environment so note this before indulging the act. For some people like air hostess, it will be an added advantage. The pantyhose is worn to cover excess skin that makes one look decent and neatly dressed. But we must bear in mind it may not be appropriate for all working environment. We need not to copy everything we see around world but must ensure it fits into our immediate environment.

  1. Get regular pedicures

One of the biggest pet peeves is when women wear open-toed shoes without getting pedicures. If you’re going to show your toes, make sure your toes are well-groomed.

  1. Don’t over-accessories

Accessories are meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it. In the corporate world, less means class and confidence. So, minimize the number of accessories you wear to the office.


  1. Avoid ankle socks with slacks

It is unpardonable to dress officially without a socks or wear an ankle-high socks. When you cross your legs and the pants slightly lift up, no skin should be showing. Your socks need to be at an appropriate length that prevents the skin from showing. Color shades in socks are also important. Wearing one color shade or mild color shades connotes confidence, class, and power.

  1. Facial hair shouldn’t overwhelm your face, trim it as well as your beard

Facial hair needs to be kept trim and tidy to maintain a professional look. Constantly visit the saloon to have your face properly dressed by the barber to avoid facial hair growing to make you unkempt. Your beards should be kept low and well-trimmed to give you a more confident look.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Vogue & Style

Attention to your fashion details



If you’ve ever watched the rehearsal process of a play, then you know just how powerful clothes are. Even in the very early stages of a project, professional actors will come to practice in certain clothing pieces that make them feel more like their character. Perhaps, in an old pair of shoes, a long and heavy skirt, or a bandana that helps them get just the right swagger, grace, or edge.

A few weeks later, when they’re closer to opening, they’ll have an actual dress rehearsal with their real costumes. It’s pretty amazing to see how the right clothes bring the performances up to a whole new level and transform the actor into the character!

As business professionals, we can actually learn a lot from this.

Like it or not, your clothes and presentation communicate volumes about you as a person. The question is not whether you care about fashion, it’s more about what you’re communicating intentionally or unconsciously through your fashion choices. Just as the actor in the right costume moves and speaks differently, so does the everyday person.

Your clothes tell a story about you. If you want to show that your work is clean, sharp, and to the point, you need to dress in clean lines, sharp creases, and (yes) points on your shoes and tie. Even the way you wear your glasses speaks volumes about you and your work!


What Do the Details Show?

Research shows that you can tell a lot about someone’s personality, politics, status, age and income just from looking at a photo of their shoes.

Did you ever notice that when President Barack Obama addressed a crowd of working class Americans, he would speak with no jacket and his sleeves rolled up? That silently and instantly communicated to the audience that he too was a hard worker.

You might remember when a 44 page dress code published by Swiss bank UBS went viral. The obsessive stipulations detailed everything from the sensible (“If you wear a watch, it suggests reliability and that punctuality is of great concern to you”) to the downright invasive (employees were instructed on how to shower and apply lotion, how to wear their underwear, and told not to eat garlic during the week).

They may have been control freaks, but UBS got one thing right: every detail about your presentation communicates something.

When you’re dressing or grooming, consider what it says about you and whether it’s in line with the message you want to communicate. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about context. A tie can make you look reliable and rooted in tradition. This might be important at an investment firm, where clients want to know that you’re serious about stewarding their capital. But it can also come off as stuffy and resistant to change, which may be inappropriate for a tech startup.


Your Clothing Impacts Your Thinking

Of course, dressing smart is also important for your confidence and sense of self-empowerment. But your style does more than just send messages, to your mind or to others. New research shows it actually impacts how you think. Professional dress, one study found, increases abstract thinking and gives people a broader perspective. So that tie might actually be switching on your creativity button.

“The formality of clothing might not only influence the way others perceive a person, and how people perceive themselves, but could influence decision making in important ways through its influence on processing style,” the study says.

Professional attire creates social distance. When we are more socially distant, we tend to think in more distant, abstract terms. In socially distant settings we address people by their title, for instance, rather than the more intimate first name.

“Even after controlling for socioeconomic status, students wearing more formal clothing showed stronger inclinations towards abstract processing.”



Usually we process visual details instantaneously through a process called thin-slicing. That’s when the brain makes millisecond judgements based on new stimulus. It often happens without us even knowing. We might just get a feeling that we don’t trust someone, or that someone else is steady and reliable. We might not even know why.

That gut feeling, commonly called intuition or a first impression, is really part of the very fast-paced mental process of thin-slicing. It’s how we continually judge books by their covers, all day, every day.

So choose your personal presentation with care. Presentation includes not only your clothes, but your accessories, hairstyle, fragrance, posture, body language, tone of voice, and the level of energy with which you move and speak. Think of the person that you need to be in any particular situation. Then dress, groom, and accessorize in a way that helps you mentally step into that personality.

Are you marching in there to get things done? Put on something red, roll up your sleeves and speak in a commanding voice. Are you making social connections at a gala event? Go for suave, but not workplace formal. Dress to feel attractive. Speak in a smooth tone, and let one shoulder relax.

If you’re loafing around on a long weekend with half a box of pizza, you can probably get away with breaking out the frumpy comfortables.

Taking intentional command of how you dress and present is a good step in empowering yourself, accomplishing your goals, and living a more lucid life at the helm of your decisions. So pay attention! Remember, all the world’s a stage.


Continue Reading