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Dress for Success

Winning First Impressions for the Corporate World

Presented by: Suzanne S. Clodfelter, M.A.I.S. Manager, UHV Center for Nonprofit Leadership

What is so important about dress?

Whats So Important about DRESS?

First impressions are CRITICAL! You are marketing a product YOURSELF! Dress is the first thing an employer sees when greeting you! Will dressing properly get you the job? NO, but it will:

Give you a competitive edge Provide a positive first impression!

The Reality
Should you be judged by what you wear? PERHAPS NOT THE REALITY:

You ARE judged With the job interview, its HOW YOU ARE DRESSED that sets the tone of the interview.

How Should I Dress?

Conservative is ALWAYS the safest route BUT do some investigation of the employer

What you wear should make you look as though you FIT IN with the organization If you overdress or under dress, the employer may feel that you dont care enough about the job! Call the Human Resources offices and ask Visit the companys office and observe the attire current employees are wearing
Make sure you are not there on a casual day!

Ways to find out the proper dress:

First Impressions

have only one chance to make a good first impression. Your appearance tells others how you feel about yourself, which can define how they treat you. Your corporate ladder climb will be easier if you look like you belong there.

First Impression Test Women Who would you hire?

First Impression Test Men Who would you hire?

What influenced you?


level of sophistication Color of tie, shoes, dress Well-groomed appearance Conservative appearance Overall attractiveness Non-verbal signals Apparent level of self-confidence

First Impression Guidelines Colors That Work


to medium range blues Navy Blue respected by all socioeconomic levels Gray Camel/Beige Black Dark Brown Burgundy Rust

First Impression Guidelines Colors to Avoid


Most pastels, especially pale yellow Bright orange


and Women

Most shades of green Mustard bad, bad, bad


Colors make you seem more powerful; only use when you need control.

First Impression Guidelines The Suit


matched suit Knee-length skirt for women Tailored and pressed pants for men and women Tailored, long-sleeve shirt or blouse Minimal jewelry, cologne and makeup Leather lace-up shoes for men; closed-toe pumps for women

First Impression Guidelines Grooming

clean and neat Details no missing buttons, lint or tags Hands clean, manicured fingernails Fit clean, pressed and proper fit Smell little or no cologne; no cigarette odor Breath fresh, clean breath; use a breathmint

First Impression Guidelines Accessories

never lighter than the hem of your skirt or pants Belts classic, quality leather Bags and briefcases small, dark-colored leather briefcase Jewelry minimal; business watch, nothing flashy Scarves and ties silk

Hints for Dress Success

Make sure you have:

Clean and polished conservative dress shoes Well-groomed hairstyle Cleaned and trimmed fingernails Minimal cologne or perfume No visible body piercings beyond conservative ear piercings for women Well-brushed teeth and fresh breath No gum, candy, or other objects in your mouth Minimal jewelry No body odor

Dress for Success- Women

Wear conservative colors

Matching blazer and skirt or pants dark colors with light colored blouse nothing low-cut OR Dress/khaki slacks (pressed) and long-sleeve button-down shirt

Skirt length should be a little below the knee and NEVER shorter than above the knee Avoid wearing tight clothing Shoes should be low-heeled Make-up should be minimal

Lipstick and nail polish in conservative tones

Bring a briefcase rather than a purse

Dress for Success - Men

Wear conservative colors

Conservative suit or sports coat and pressed dress/khaki slacks White long-sleeved button-down shirt Conservative silk tie (optional) Polished dress shoes Belt that matches shoes Make sure it is neatly trimmed

If you have a beard or mustache:

If you have any visible body parts pierced or tattooed:

Remove all piercings and cover all tattoos if possible

Dressing ON THE JOB


youve landed the job

Consult your supervisor as to what is acceptable dress for his/her department Ask about any casual days and what type of dress is allowed on those days When in doubt, DRESS CONSERVATIVELY!

Examples of Appropriate Attire for Women

Business Casual Attire

Business Professional Attire

Examples of Appropriate Attire for Men

Business Casual Attire Business Professional Attire

What is too casual?

What is Inappropriate Attire for Work?

Examples of Unprofessional and Inappropriate Attire

Midriff baring clothing Miniskirts Excessively high heeled shoes Caps (headwear) indoors Very tight clothing

Clothing that reveals cleavage, your back, your chest, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for the workplace, even in a business casual setting.

Slacks, Pants, and Suit Pants


that are similar to Dockers and other makers of cotton or synthetic material pants, wool pants, flannel pants, and nice looking dress synthetic pants are acceptable.

slacks or pants include jeans, flannel (or other material) pajama pants, sweatpants, exercise pants, short shorts, shorts, Bermuda shorts, bib overalls, leggings, and any spandex or other form-fitting pants such as bike clothing.

Which is appropriate?
A) B) C)

Skirts, Dresses, and Skirted Suits


dresses and skirts, and skirts that are split at or below the knee are acceptable. Dress and skirt length should be no shorter than four inches above the knee, or a length at which you can sit comfortably in public. tight skirts that ride halfway up the thigh are inappropriate for work. Miniskirts, skorts, beach dresses, and spaghetti-strap and strapless dresses are inappropriate for the office.


Which is inappropriate?
A) B) C)

Shirts, Tops, Blouses, and Jackets

Casual shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts, sweaters tops, company logo shirts , and turtlenecks are acceptable. Most suit jackets, sport jackets, or company logo Jackets are also acceptable attire for the office. Inappropriate attire includes tank tops; sweatshirts; midriff tops; shirts with potentially offensive words, terms, logos, pictures, cartoons, or slogans; halter-tops; tops with bare shoulders; and t-shirts unless worn under another blouse, shirt, jacket, or jumper.

Which is appropriate?
A) B) C)




Shoes and Footwear

Loafers, boots, flats, dress heels, and leather deck shoes are acceptable. Wearing no stockings is acceptable if the look is appropriate to the outfit. Conservative athletic shoes and sneakers may be appropriate for some job functions (i.e., umpiring recreational activities) or for health reasons, but are generally inappropriate. Flashy athletic shoes, thongs/flip-flops, and slippers are not acceptable in the office. Closed toe and closed heel shoes are required in the vocational and recreation areas of facilities.

Which is inappropriate?
B) A)


Which is appropriate?
B) A)



SNEAKERS: What is appropriate

(for those authorized by duty/assignment to wear athletic shoes)

Appropriate, conservative athletic shoe

Inappropriate, flashy athletic shoe


Makeup, Perfume, and Cologne: Should be in good taste,

with no visible body piercing other than pierced ears.


Length: fingernail length

should not interfere with the effectiveness and efficiency of your job performance. Nails should be well maintained with polish or natural color.

and Head Covering: Hats

and caps are not appropriate in the office. Head Covers that are required for religious purposes or to honor cultural tradition are allowed.

There is a time and a place for all attire. Clothing that works well for the beach, yard work, dance clubs, trips to the mall, exercise sessions, and sports contests may not be appropriate for a professional appearance at work.

The Donts

wear more than 13 accessories Dont wear slacks to work if youve never seen top-level women at your organization wear them Dont wear hosiery and shoes that are darker than your hem


casual does not give you license to wear short skirts Wear skin-toned hosiery when your business outfit consists of a short-sleeved jacket or dress Dress for the position you want, not the position you have

Violations of Dress Code

If an employees supervisor determines that an employees clothing fails to meet these standards, the supervisor shall ask the employee not to wear the inappropriate item to work again. The supervisor may send the employee home to change clothes and shall issue a verbal warning for the first offense. All other policies about personal time use will apply. Progressive disciplinary action will be taken for further dress code violations including termination.