Your choice of business apparel speaks to your professional behavior and credibility. It is important to understand how to dress for business if you wish to promote yourself and your organization in a positive manner.
- In men's clothing, fashion does not change significantly from season to season but business attire is about being professional and not about being fashionable. It's about presenting yourself in a way that makes your clients feel comfortable and confident with you. Dressing for success is still the rule. The professional businessman should keep in mind these few points when deciding what to wear to work.
- Choose a conservative suit in navy, black or gray either pinstripe or solid. The quality of the material speaks as loudly as the color and can make the difference between sleaze and suave.
- A solid white or blue dress shirt with long sleeves offers the most polished look. The more pattern and color you add, the more the focus is on your clothing, rather than your professionalism.
- Ties should be made of silk or a silk-like fabric. Avoid the cartoon characters and go for simple and subtle if you want to enhance your credibility.
- Socks should be calf-length or above. Make sure they match not only what you are wearing, but also each other. A quick glance in good light into the mirror before heading out the door can save embarrassment later in the day. Check for holes as well if you'll be going through airport security and removing your shoes.
- Shoes should without question be conservative, clean and well polished. Lace-up shoes are the choice over slip-ons or flip flops. Don't think for a minute that people don't notice shoes. Many people will look at your feet before your face.
- Belts need to match or closely coordinate with your shoes. Once again, quality counts.
- Keep jewelry to a minimum. In a time when men sport gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, the business professional should limit himself to a conservative watch, a wedding band and maybe his college ring.
- Personal hygiene is part of the success equation. Freshly scrubbed wins out over heavily fragranced any day of the week. Save the after-shave for after hours, but never the shave itself.
- The finishing touch for the business man is his choice of accessories: briefcase, portfolio and pen. When it comes to sealing the deal, a top of the line suit, a silk tie and a good pair of leather shoes can lose their affect when you pull out
the ball point pen you picked up in the hotel meeting room the day before.
- The Queen of England is reported to have told Prince Charles, "Dress gives one the outward sign from which people can judge the inward state of mind. One they can see, the other they cannot." Clearly, she was saying what many people are reluctant to accept; that people judge us by the way we dress. In all manner of situations, business and social, our outward appearance sends a message. Either you show success or you denote failure. Make the difference.