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Clothes Make the Man (or Woman)

How to Dress for Work and Interviews

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Unless your job requires you to wear a uniform, choosing clothing for work can be difficult. Of course there are industry standards, such as the navy blue suit for accountants and bankers. What do you wear, however, if you work in an industry where there really isn't a typical style of dress? Complicating the matter further are companies that allow more casual attire. How do you keep from crossing over the line from casual to sloppy? What about the job interview? You want to look your professional best, but you also want to appear as if you "fit in". Here are some pointers for dressing for any type of work situation:

  • First and foremost, no matter what you wear, your clothes should be neat and clean.
  • Keep your shoes in good condition.
  • Your hair should be neatly styled.
  • For women: makeup should be subtle.
  • Nails should be clean and neat and of reasonable length.
  • Dress for the job you want. If you aspire to be a manager, dress like managers in your company do.

Rules for Casual Dress at Work

Although in theory most people love the idea of not having to wear a suit to work, they are often confused by the casual dress policies some employers have instituted over the last few years. Here are some simple rules:
  • Casual doesn't mean sloppy. Your clothing should still be neat and clean.
  • You can't go wrong with khakis and a sport shirt or a nice sweater.
  • If you are going to a meeting or making a presentation, professional attire may be in order.

More: Dressing Professionally When You Have To

Dressing for a Job Interview

In addition to following the general rules for dressing for work, heed this advice when you go on a job interview:

  • Adhere to the employer's dress code: find out whether it's formal (suit and tie) or casual by asking around or by observing employees arriving for work.

  • Dress slightly better than you would if you were an employee. For example, if the dress code is very casual, you should take it up a notch.

  • Cover up tattoos and remove body jewelry until you know whether they are acceptable at that particular workplace.

More: Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Dress for a Job Interview

Where to Donate Business Suits

Do you have business suits you no longer need? You can donate your interview-appropriate suits and other professional attire to those who can't afford to buy their own.

More: Where Can I Donate Business Suits?.

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