How To Dress Professionally
Learning how to dress professionally is the best way to start or advance your career. Take this step-by-step process to heart, and soon enough you will be the best dressed gentleman in your business.
- Slacks. The first step to developing your professional wardrobe is to buy a selection of slacks. Styles vary from flat front to pleated, and at most quality men's shops you can have them tailored to have no cuff or cuffs of various heights from an inch to a couple of inches. You will need several pairs of slacks to wear throughout the week, so get several pairs with slightly different styles so you have flexibility, but choose flexible colors like brown, black and grey so they work with multiple shirts. Do not wear khaki slacks unless business casual is indicated for the event.
- A dress shirt. Dress shirts come in many styles, from plain white or blue to striped and patterned, but all dress shirts button down the entire front of the shirt. Select styles such as the wide Windsor collar or the point collar, which has a narrow space between the points when the shirt's top button is fastened. Button-down collars are fine in America, but in most of the world these are seen as sporting collars and are not to be worn during formal occasions. The most common cuffs chosen by people who know how to dress professionally are the barrel cuffs, which are fastened with one or two buttons at the wrist. French cuffs fold back and are fastened with cuff links for a more formal look. Choose patterns only if you work in an environment where a more open, design-influenced look is acceptable.
- The tie. Your tie will say a lot about you, as many other components of your professional dress will be rather understated. For the most professional look, select a solid color, and for a less formal look choose a striped or patterned tie. Save cute or playful ties for informal occasions or when you and your colleagues and customers know one anther well and such a tie will not reduce your esteem in their eyes.
The belt. A black or brown belt with a brass buckle is appropriate for those who wish to dress professionally. Your belt should fit comfortably into the loops of the slacks you are wearing, neither being too tight or too loose in the loops.
A watch. Today a watch is optional, but fine watches can still be a symbol of status, and a nicely designed watch can put the finishing touches on your ensemble.
- Your socks. To dress professionally, select from a variety of patterned and plain dress socks. Patterns include understated dots, fleur-de-lis and argyle designs. Do not select loud patterns unless it will support your business. Socks should, in general, be dark in their overall color and should complement your slacks.
- Business professional shoes. The most classic shoes you can select to dress professionally are the dress oxford design with either a cap toe or wing tip. Be careful of casual shoes in the office. There are Oxford casual shoes, and these you must avoid. Loafers and tennis shoes are other styles that will not meet the code when you are trying to dress professionally.
- An interview suit. One of the most important pieces of clothing you can have in your professional wardrobe is a good interview suit. The suit should be wool, but should work in any season. Pin stripes are most formal, but a gray, black or navy suit is highly professional and understated. Navy is a good choice, because the jacket is flexible and can work with other colors of pants on less formal days.
Posted on: Jul. 29, 2010