Wearing appropriate business attire can go a long way in getting the job, getting the client, or moving up the corporate ladder. However, knowing what an appropriate work wardrobe is can be confusing, as it can vary depending on the industry, the company culture and your job. Before deciding what to wear to work, consider the following:

Look at the industry

Some industries are considered more traditional or conservative, while others are more progressive or contemporary. There may be a traditional business dress code for your industry.

What is your company brand?

The industry may be the same, but the company and product culture may be different. Even though your industry may have its standards for professional dress, your company may have an attitude of its own that sets it apart as a brand differentiating itself from the pack. What is your company culture? Is it formal, laid back, fashion forward or fun?

Who will see you and how will they be dressed?

As a representative of your company, consider how you want your clients, co workers and employer to react to you. Do you want to come across as Authoritative, Creative, Formal, Functional, Credible, etc.? The way you are dressed will have a direct impact on the way you are perceived, and how others respond to you and your company.

Maintain a consistent image

Some of us wear many hats: in any given day you may be at sales calls, a business mixer or a construction site; and you may feel you need to dress differently for various business related activities. This can be challenging when getting dressed in the morning, and hard on the wardrobe. Although it is important to dress appropriately for where you will be and what you will be doing, it is still important to maintain a certain level of consistency. If one day you are wearing a matched suit and the next day jeans and a casual top, this can send mixed messages and confuse your client or your employer.

Suppose that someone is meeting you for the first time. What would a potential client or employer think when they first meet you? Do you fit their expectations for the industry, products and skills you are offering? Plan your work wardrobe with careful consideration. The image that you project is vital to establishing a business relationship quickly, and maintaining that relationship over time.

Kimberly Law AICI, CIP

Association of Image Consultants International (AICI)

aiciimageconsulatant aicicip

Founding Director of

Institute of Image Training & Testing International (IITTI)


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