How To Dress For Success At Work

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What you wear to work can have a big effect on your productivity. Wearing the right clothing can make you feel comfortable and more confident in your role. The right clothing can also impress clients and employers, helping you to build their trust. Here are just a few tips to help you dress for success.


Match the formality

Every job comes with a different level of formality. You don’t want to dress too formal in some roles as this could make you seem overly serious and conservative. Similarly, you don’t want to dress too informal in some jobs as this could make you seem too sloppy and carefree.

A growing number of businesses are adopting a smart casual dress code, which can be a bit vague – in fact, there are lots of different shades of smart casual. If you’re faced with having to deal with this dress code, you should consider the type of clients you work with and how you interact with them. If your clients dress smartly and your role is serious, you may want to consider wearing a blazer and formal shoes. If your clients are more laid back and your role is more fun, you might be able to get away with jeans and even sneakers.


Use colour psychology

The colours you wear can also have a big impact. For example, red is an energetic colour that can show confidence and passion – it can be great for sales pitches or negotiations in which you may want to come across more authoritative. Blue meanwhile is more calming and can help you to build trust – it’s better suited for counselling roles and times when you may want to put people at ease.

Colours like pink, purple, orange and green can be a more acquired taste, but you can still make use of them so long as you’re subtle. Orange and yellow for example can bring warmth, but too much of this colour could make you seem cartoonish.

Many people stick to black, grey and white as these versatile colours, however wearing these colours too often could risk you coming across boring. Even if your dress code is black business attire, you can add pops of colour to bring personality to your outfit such as a red tie or a blue handbag and shoes or green fingernails.


Look organised with a watch

Wearing a watch can convince people that you’re organised and a good timekeeper. This may not actually be the case, but it’s worth creating this impression – especially if you’re going to an interview. Different wristwatches may give off different vibes. The likes of these Festina watches can be great for a smart casual dress code. Traditional analogue watches could be good for conservative and traditional roles. Meanwhile, if you work with innovative technology, you may want to opt for a more contemporary digital watch.


Bring a brolly

Getting caught in the rain isn’t a good look – if you turn up to a meeting looking like a drowned rat, people may view you as disorganised for not bringing an umbrella. Make this an accessory that you take with you everywhere in your bag so that you’re always prepared. Hats may similarly be able to protect hair from the wind, although you do risk getting hat hair.


Shine those shoes

Clean shoes still make a difference. By taking the effort to shine them in the morning, it shows people that you’re prepared and that you’re not just hurriedly rushing through your morning routine. This can be great for impressing employers. Even if your job doesn’t require you to wear formal shoes, you should still make sure you’re not wearing dirty trainers or shabby sandals to work.


Take care with cosmetics

For women, applying the right levels of makeup can be a challenging balancing act. Too much mascara or fake tan could make you look like you’re going on a night out. Cake it on too heavily and you could even risk looking inauthentic, which may not be good in a role where you need to install confidence in people. That said, putting on some makeup can be great for hiding tiredness. The right amount of bronzer could give you a nice dewy glow that makes you look awake and alert – even if deep down inside you don’t feel like this at all!


Be practical with your bag

For carrying all your work gear, you’ll want a suitably sized bag (i.e. no tiny clutches!). Some handbags are able to suit any occasion such as black quilted bags and tan faux-leather bags. Companies like Radley have a big selection of handbags for the workplace.

As for men, there are also practicalities to consider. Satchel bags have mostly replaced briefcases as they’re much easier to carry and better suited for carrying bulky objects like laptops. You may even want to take a backpack – the likes of the Tylt Energi even come with in-built portable chargers.


Stay safe and comfortable

Your health and comfort are some of the most important factors to consider in the workplace. Health and safety should always come before fashion sense – many companies will supply but not enforce this equipment. That isn’t to say you should walk around an office with a hard hat and safety goggles, but if you work in a factory with lots of potential hazards and these items are supplied you should make use of them.

Personal comfort is also important as you won’t perform your job well if you’re in discomfort. Dress loose if your job permits it – tight clothing will restrict movement and make you feel stuffy. As for footwear, wear something that’s not going to damage your feet in the long run. Heels are a prime example of this – whilst they can make some people feel more confident and sexy, they’re not the most practical shoes and do all kinds of damage to your joints. Many flats are suitable for a formal environment including loafers, dolly shoes and sandals and can look just as stylish.