How to Dress for Success in the Workplace

by / ⠀Career Advice / October 5, 2022
dress for success in the office

Did you know that the average age of a chief executive officer in the U.S. was 54.1 years old in 2018? So says Statista, in a report released recently. The research firm adds that the average age of hire for CEOs in the country has, since 2005, been trending upwards. So, if you’re a CEO south of 30, you’re obviously in the minority. Whether you’re the head honcho at a company you started up or you lead a company founded by someone else, there are different things to remember if you want to succeed in the corner office. One of those things is to dress for success in the workplace.

It’s not about dressing the impress – though wanting to make a good impression by how you present yourself never hurt anyone. It’s about looking the part. You’ve undoubtedly heard that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. That’s all good and well. But it’s still a good idea to pay no attention to how you present yourself professionally. Some leaders buck the trend style-wise and, despite showing zero concern for how they look on the job, manage to command unfailing respect from those working under them.

But they’re the exception rather than the rule. It’s best to stick to the norm and look the part.

Unless you’re determined to buck the trend and insist on wearing flip-flops, shorts, and ballcaps, what follows is a look at some tips for dressing like a C-level executive in the corner office.

Dress Professionally

The first order of business is to dress professionally. But what does that even mean? Depending on the industry you’re in or the corporate culture of the company you lead, the definition of professional attire might be different. One rule of thumb is to wear to work the type of outfit you’d put on if being interviewed for your dream job at a company you want to work for.

A simple business professional dress code for men and women would be as follows:

  • Men: A suit, tie, and dress shoes
  • Women: Dress, pantsuit, women’s linen shorts, or blouse and skirt with dress shoes

Ensure that your clothing is clean, properly fitted, and pressed. If you doubt what to wear, observe what people wear at the company you work at or want to work at. You can also ask human resources if you’re not sure what the dress code is.

Go Easy on the Jewelry

Your jewelry should be seen as an accessory that adds to your outfit. It shouldn’t be the first thing people notice when you walk into the room. Spending money on one or two high-quality signature pieces like a diamond tennis necklace or a gold-plated watch is better than going overboard by wearing a lot of lower-quality bling that overwhelms your overall look.

On another note, be wary of anybody or facial piercings you may have. If you have either or both, cover them up in the workplace. Doing so will give you a more professional polish.

Remember Footwear

Finding the right shoes for the workplace isn’t just choosing the right color or style. You need to consider the nature of your work before selecting proper professional footwear. Do you spend a lot of time behind the desk in your corner office? Or are you always on the go? Your answer to this question will factor into what you buy. You’ll want to consider things like comfort and stability. It’s also best to choose conservative colors and to purchase shoes that fit your outfits.

Looking the part is one aspect of succeeding as a leader. There’s no denying that most people — colleagues, employees, and customers — will judge you based on how you present yourself. So, dress for success in the workplace and ensure you do your part to look the part of a successful company leader.

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