Clothes, besides serving the basic purpose of protecting you against the environment, and your private parts from the ever watching critical eye of society (Janet Jackson incident is in order), are a means of expression. Well, at least to a certain extent since that same society we’re a part of, dictates and defines rules, protocols and standards for what’s commonly accepted.
Thus, we may find ourselves in uncomfortable situations due to an inadequate outfit or a concept of style unshared by those around you. Although I’m a firm believer that one should stay true to oneself, we have to realize and accept that there’s a time and place for everything.
This is especially true once you enter the job market. Depending on your area of expertise, the company you work for, the country you’re in, etc., the appropriate dress code may vary a great deal.
For those of you who work in creative areas, chances are you’re not required to dress in a specific manner; also, if you must wear an uniform, it pretty much removes the issue from the equation. However, this post is aimed for those who must present themselves in a dressier fashion, usually in a suit. We have all seen professionals who aren’t dressed accordingly (be it men or women), unaware that it may push customers away or lead to issues with your superiors (I’ve seen it happen before).
Bear in mind that I’m in no way trying to tell you what to dress: I’m just trying to make a point and list a few pointers that may help avoid those situations:
- Avoid showing too much skin : your shirt should have the top two buttons undone, no more;
(Unless you’re a celebrity or rock star (and even then), keep your hairy chest to yourself. Photo from www.eonline.com)
- Stay away from excessively bright colored pieces : I love color and playing with it in the overall look, but do it discreetly, there’s no need to be the center of attention specially for all the wrong reasons. A pocket square is a great alternative way to add color and personality to your look, try it;
(Neon pants may be a bit too much for the office. Photo by Tommy Ton)
- Never wear white sport socks : I mean..NEVER!! As the name implies these are meant for sports only. Pair them with dress shoes and your credibility is gone for good…seriously now, you’ll look like you’ve injured both feet and they’ve been cast in plaster.
(This image speaks for itself… Photo from individualism.co.uk)
- Trade in the tee : If a more informal occasion arises, such as casual friday or a company rendezvous, wear a polo shirt instead of a tee. It will keep you cool and relaxed but looking more put together. Look for a slim fitting model;
(Notice the length and fit of the sleeve. Photo by Tommy Ton)
- Lose the squared toe shoes : These are outdated and add a bulky feeling to your look. Go for a sleek shoe with a round or slightly pointy toe.
(Don’t try this at home, or anywhere for that matter. Photo from www.thestyleblogger.com)
- Don’t over accessorize: this is mostly seen on women but men can go wrong here as well. A watch and the eventual ring/bracelet are acceptable, but try not to throw everything on at once: the visual impact will be greater with one well thought item;
(Despite being one of the actual few who can pull it off, even he gets it wrong sometimes; you don’t want too much going on in your look. Photo from www.interweb.in)
- Wear your pants in your waist: Wearing your jeans a bit lower may be fine, but suit pants should fit you flawlessly so wear them where they’re meant to. And don’t you dare flashing your underwear around the office;
(You’re not 14 anymore. Photo from www.guardian.co.uk)