Dressing for Success


Dress for the Job you Want…not the Job you Have!  I’ve always been taught that and have always followed that rule.  Of course, I should be dressing as a sideline reporter for the NFL…but I digress and that’s another blog.  I found an article on Dressing for Success that I wanted to share, especially since many recent college graduates are entering the work place.   These are just some basics (almost elementary, if you will) but are good to know.

Dressing for success, does not always mean wearing a business suit.  Different occupations call for different dress codes.   How you should dress in your office is largely dependent on your company’s dress code and the cultural norms of your office. Companies usually issue employee handbooks with formalized dress codes, and that is also a good starting point to understand what is appropriate to wear in your office.  Of course, if you are the luckiest girl in the world, like me, and not only work out of my home, but work for a company which has No dress code, so I have no rules, but do try to angle towards dressing for success.  Well that, and I get to treat each day like it’s a fashion show.  #Ihavetoomanyclothes.


If you are still unsure regarding what is appropriate to wear in your workplace, a good tip is to observe the attire of your supervisors and women who are similar in rank to you in your office for a week or two whenever you start a new job. It is important to pay attention to what they wear on days where there might be an important meeting (when you will typically see the most formal of attire) and ordinary days. Seeing what others wear is the best barometer in determining the appropriate level of formality in your office. (Genevieve Ang).


DRESS FOR SUCCESS…by Lauren Conrad  (my comments in bold)

Dressing the part for work is a topic I am quite familiar with. I’ve covered the basics for all kinds of work attire (from casual to business casual to professional), shared interview outfits, and even created a list of office style commandments that I believe every working girl should know. But as I started digging a little deeper into the rules for dressing for success, I found a few fun facts that might surprise even the most knowledgeable style experts. What I discovered was that it all comes down to the details. Hard work and a friendly attitude might get you that big promotion, but a few key presentation factors—from your fingernails to the soles of your shoes—will help pave that road to success. Without further ado, here are 10 style tricks that make a good impression in the workplace…

1. Hem your pants.
You should never be able to wear the same pair of dress pants with both flats and heels. Pants that are not tailored correctly can look silly if they are too short or sloppy if they drag on the ground. When wearing heels, the hem of your pants should fall about ½ inch from the ground in the back, according to The Daily Muse. When wearing flats, your pants should cover most of the shoe in the back without actually touching the ground. If your office attire is casual, make sure your jeans are hemmed correctly as well. Skinny jeans should hit at the bottom of the ankle and cigarette pants should hit at the top of your ankle.  Pants that hang on the floor, really looks unprofessional.  This goes for both men and women.  I recently saw a picture of a friend of mine, who wore a beautiful shirt and tie and a very sharp suit…except the pants weren’t hemmed properly, they were bunched around his shoes, so it ruined the entire look.  Hem your pants.  


2. Check your sleeve length.
Make a note to bring your jackets and blazers with you when you have your pants tailored as well because your sleeve length speaks volumes about your presentation. Sleeves that are too long or too short have the same negative effect as improperly fitting pants. To avoid looking frumpy, make sure the cuff of your sleeve hits just below your wrist when holding your arms at your sides.  Not sure I’ve ever thought my sleeves were an improper length.  #whoknew


3. Buy button-up shirts that fit.
Nothing looks more unprofessional that a button-up shirt that gapes and shows your undergarments. If you have a bigger chest size, buy a button-up shirt that is big enough to stretch all the way across your bust without gaping. If your shirt fits perfectly but it’s still gaping, try using double-stick tape or fashion tape to smooth the seams together.  It’s important to not only have button-up shirts that fit, but the rest of your clothing as well.   Find a good tailor.  

4. Invest in a good pair of shoes.
Your shoes may not be the first thing your coworkers notice, but if you’re crossing your legs in a meeting or making a presentation, I guarantee that scuffed soles will stand out…and not in a good way. Invest in two or three classic pairs of heels that are comfortable enough to give an entire standing presentation in. Do the same with flats, and make sure you have bandages handy for blisters. When a pair starts to look run down and tattered, don’t wait too long to replace them or treat them to a trip to the cobbler.  This will be my next purchase…a classic pair of Christian Louboutins.



5. Belt it.
If you’re wearing a pair of pants with belt loops and a tucked-in shirt, it looks sloppy to go belt-less. According to AOL Jobs, empty belt loops look forgetful and careless. And the reverse is true as well: If you decide to wear a belt with a skirt or dress that comes sans belt loops, make sure the belt won’t awkwardly shift around throughout the day.  This is a good tip, for every day…if your pants, skirt or dress have belt loops, belt them.


6. Don’t pile on accessories.
This tip may be a bit obvious, but it can help you shift your image from frivolous fashionista to polished professional. If your office attire tends to be more buttoned up (banking, real estate, etc.), keep the jewelry and accessories at a minimum. Your earrings, necklace, and rings should be simple. Forgo jangly bracelets for a smart watch. If you work in a creative environment, you have more freedom in the jewelry department—but that doesn’t mean you should go crazy. The focus should be on one main accessory like a statement necklace or a colorful handbag. Keep the rest simple.  You may refer to my previous blog, the 3 bling rule.  http://dressedtoat.blog/2011/07/01/the-3-bling-rule




7. Maintain your manicure.
When you’re shaking hands with business partners, gesturing during a presentation, or signing important documents, I can guarantee that your nails will get noticed. Make sure they affect your overall appearance positively by keeping them manicured. Now that doesn’t mean you have to go to the nail salon and get them polished weekly—you can keep them natural as long as they look clean and free of torn cuticles. If you’re a nail biter, here’s some incentive to go cold turkey: Not only do bitten nails look unprofessional, the habit also makes you come off as nervous and stressed. In other words, chipped polish, dirty nails and bad habits don’t exactly scream “promotion,” ladies.  I really need to do this.   I truly have the most unattractive hands, ever.  



8. Dry your hair.
We’ve all been there before: You’re running extremely late and there’s no time to blow dry your hair before rushing out the door. While the decision to be late or do your ‘do comes down to you, consider this fact first… Having wet hair in the workplace leaves you with a messy impression. If you can’t find the time to at least dry your hair in the morning, you may want to consider giving yourself some extra time to get ready. Your boss will take you much more seriously if it looks like you take the time to present a polished version of yourself each day. I cannot ever imagine leaving the house, let alone going to work, with Wet Hair.  What in the world?



9. Don’t overdo the perfume.
Before you walk out the door, refrain from dousing yourself in your favorite eau de cologne. I’m definitely a proponent of smelling fresh and clean, but one spritz should do the job, not three.  My friend Steph turned me onto this cologne, by Jennifer Aniston.  It’s light, clean and fresh.  Love it.



10. Brighten up your eyes.
While it’s obvious that a pretty, white smile makes a great first impression, you may be surprised to learn that white eyes have the same effect as well. People are actually attracted to eye whites that are truly white. According to Science Daily, a new study revealed that bloodshot eyes are associated with sadder, unhealthier, and less attractive individuals than people whose eye whites are white. If you’re interviewing for a new job or giving a presentation, squirt a few drops of Visine into your eyes. It will add moisture and constrict blood vessels, reducing the appearance of bloodshot peepers. And for all you ladies who enjoy a post-work happy hour in the middle of the week, this trick will help you look rested and rejuvenated when you’re anything but.  Again, never a good idea to go anywhere with bloodshot eyes.  It’s another good rule for every day.  


More from Lauren Conrad – my comments, again, in bold.

While there are no rules in fashion, there are rules for fashion in the workplace. A few basic guidelines for business formal dressing include the following:

1. Wear colors based on a neutral color palette (black, navy, cream, charcoal or grey). Unfortunately lime green and bright pink won’t cut it in the boardroom. Pink is the new black.  But I do angle towards black, grey and charcoal myself.  
2. Avoid gaudy accessories. Think simple, sleek and chic.  Again, my 3-bling rule.
3. All suits and skirts should be tailored to fit close to the body (but not tight). Skirts should hit at the knee or below. And blouses should be conservative, freshly pressed and always tucked in.  Brilliant.  
4. Wear scuff-free heels or flats in a neutral color. If you go for the heels, don’t wear anything higher than 3 or 4 inches. These would not be okay.  Because I’m 5’8″, I typically don’t wear heels higher than 4″…however I have seen women, wearing a classic pair of pumps with 4-41/2″ heels, in the workplace, and I thought they looked great.  Especially if they can walk properly in them.  
5. Hair and makeup should be groomed, neat, and simple. I think the ballerina bun is the perfect hairstyle for any female powerhouse. It’s feminine, yet strikingly authoritative.  Sloppy buns are not okay in the workplace, except my home, which is my workplace…because I always wear a sloppy bun.  #idowhatiwant












Looks I Love…I would wear, happily, any one of these ensembles.  


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I’ve ended with this picture of the dress shorts and heels.  In 1990, the year I was a bride, I was working in a hotel, and wore a pink linen Liz Claiborne suit, which had shorts not a skirt or pants.  I paired it with heels and a silk blouse.  Pretty edgy for that time, but it still looked professional…Thankfully it did not become an HR issue and I do believe other’s followed suit.  Pun intended. 🙂

The key to dressing professionally goes beyond a business suit or heels and a skirt.  Investing in quality tailored apparel and practicing good grooming serves any person well.  To express your own unique style in a conservative and elegant manner shows you not only Look the part of a Professional…but you can walk the walk as well.  

Song of the Day:  Play It Again, by Luke Bryan…the perfect summer song!

This blog is dedicated to Meredith, who in 10 short days, begins day 1 of working for 50+ years…Yes, I do believe she freaked when I indicated that to her.  #livingthedream

30-Day Abs Challenge is going Fab…and I’m delighted so many have joined me in this challenge.  For the record, I still hate planks, and no doubt will hate them even more at the end of the challenge, but I’m in and I’m committed!


Have a great weekend…Next week’s blogs:  Lord of the Rings; If Only; and Father’s Day!  A trifecta of blogs, all written and ready to be published!

gone to the beach










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