AS VITAL as it is for a company to maintain a product’s image in today’s business world, it is even more important for individuals to package themselves in a way that is smart and professional.

In today’s job market, first impressions can never be overstated, especially if you are trying to set yourself apart from other job seekers who are trying to land the same job.

The image you portray can either make or break you, and the look you go for reflects your ability to perform adequately on the job.

Looking and behaving like a highly qualified and well-groomed professional will definitely help you gain the respect and admiration of your boss, colleagues and clients.

Here are some helpful dress code tips to get your wardrobe right in a professional setting and fashion faux pas to avoid when dressing for success:

Types of workplace attire

There are three main types of workplace attire that you need to fully understand. Each type of attire depends on your company’s dress code policy.

Professional dress

In most conservative industries such as sales, accounting or banking, you will find that this type of business wear is dominant.

In general, the business dress for men that works best in most corporate environments is a conservative dark or charcoal-grey suit, a white or blue long-sleeve, button-down shirt and a necktie with minimal or no patterns.

Women’s business attire consists of a pantsuit or a suit with a skirt, paired with closed-toe high heels.

This type of dress code helps you to reflect a conservative and professional look that is classy but not too flashy.

Business casual

The key to appropriate business casual attire is to understand your company’s definition of “business casual”.

Basically, business casual for men is tailored pants or khaki-coloured pants, a button-down collared or polo shirt and traditional black or brown shoes.

Wearing a tie or a blazer is optional.

Business casual for women means classic black or brown pants, a well-pressed shirt or blouse and high heels.

The no dress code policy

While most companies have a specific dress code, there are actually some exceptions to this norm.

A company with a “no dress code” policy allows you to wear jeans, T-shirts, flip flops, sneakers and shorts.

This policy is common among information technology companies, where employees have no direct interaction with clients.

But employees may be asked to wear professional attire at networking events, conferences or client meetings.

What to avoid

Strong fragrances

Smelling good is definitely a vital part of looking good.

But avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes in the office or workplace and keep in mind that some people are allergic to some perfumes.

So if your fragrance is too strong, only use it in your personal time.

Poor grooming

Personal grooming is just as important as what you wear.

You may select the right clothes, but having poor personal hygiene will ruin the image you wish to present.

Make sure that your hair is clean, trimmed and neatly combed.

For men, moustaches or beards must be neatly groomed or opt for a clean-shaven look.

When it comes to makeup, women should keep it light and natural looking. After all, this is not a beauty contest.


Accessories can definitely reflect your personal style and can be a plus if worn in moderation. But some should be avoided in order to look professional and credible.

Women should avoid large, dangling earrings and wear no more than one ring per hand, a nice watch and a simple necklace.

Men should stick to a watch, one ring and a simple belt. Ties with loud patterns should be avoided.

Always remember that when it comes to accessorising in the workplace: Less is more.

Many professionals commit a number of fashion faux pas without even realising it due to their lack of experience.

This can sometimes lead to being passed over for a job or promotion.

Although your personal style is important, dressing for success means business, not pleasure.

Whether you are self-employed, a sales representative or you just have a really conservative boss, the way you dress reflects your ability to perform the job well.