Professional Style

Dressing for success includes a lot more than just choosing the right outfit. To complete your professional look, you must also consider accessories and personal grooming.  How you present yourself to others can make or break a job interview, or even cost (or help foster) you a promotion at work. Your appearance is your employer’s appearance.  That is, how you present yourself at work is a direct reflection of your employer as well.

You should always dress to impress clients, investors, and customers because a winning sales pitch is not enough to seal the deal. A woman’s professional appearance needs to support her professional accomplishments and not show off the “wrong” assets. One of the simplest, yet best bits of advice regarding dressing for the workplace is probably the most obvious: know the dress code of your employer!

If your business attire is distracting others (you want them to look you in the eye, not the chest bursting out of a too-tight shirt or daring neckline) because it is too sexy, drab, or colorful, your business contacts may focus on how you look, not on your business skills.

Do not let the first impression you make about yourself be your personal scent preferences! Avoid wearing perfume and heavily-scented products in all business settings. You might like them, but they have no place in a business environment. Scents can trigger asthma, overpower a room, and are often more offensive than pleasing to others.

Women often use their hands to talk with, so they become a focal point. It is important to have hands and fingernails looking professional, not like you are heading out for a wild night on the town. Nails should be clean and trimmed or sculpted. Avoid wearing unusual or shocking nail colors. Nail art and nail jewels are not acceptable for business meetings.

Style should be neat and conservative, and preferably off the face. With few exceptions, hair color should not be shocking or unusual (leave blue hair for Halloween). Hair sprays and gels that have a strong scent or odor should be avoided.

Jewelry should not be noisy (no metal bangle bracelets), too large, or costume jewelry that is gaudy. Keep earrings small, simple, and above the earlobe.

It is better to wear no jewelry at all than to wear too much jewelry, but all business women should at least wear a nice, conservative wrist watch.

Demonstrating that you care about your personal appearance communicates to the person you are meeting with that they are important to you. Paying attention to the details of your appearance sends a message to others that you will also pay close attention to business details, and the needs of your customers and clients.

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