You may be on top of the latest trends and all your friends may ask you for fashion tips, but when it comes to dressing for the workplace, trendy is not the new black. In fact many employers have strict requirements and prefer employees to wear conservative clothing, subdued nail color, and frown upon visible piercings and tattoos. My college-age son now regrets his choice of a visible arm tattoo because his summer job insisted he wear long sleeves to cover it up, despite the sweltering heat.
Interview and Workplace Dress
So unless you are interviewing to be a fashion buyer at a boutique, err on the conservative side until you know the dress code. First impressions are lasting and what you’re wearing will impact your chances of landing your dream job. My daughter’s summer internship took her into the courtroom where on her first day she was reprimanded for wearing a sleeveless shirt and no stockings! Don’t let this happen to you.
Workplace Dress Tips for Women
A well fitted, not tight, simple knee length skirt or dark slacks paired with a white blouse, sweater, jacket or cardigan are perfect staples. Classic pumps or flat shoes complete the outfit with class. Leave the high strappy platforms, combat boots and especially flip-flops at home! Its fine to add a little fashion forward jewelry but don’t over do it.
Workplace Dress Tips for Men
A safe choice for men is always a dark suit. While it’s a great investment it’s not necessary to buy one just for an interview. A pair of dark pants with a button down shirt with or without a tie will do just fine. Add a polished dark shoe - no sneakers. Make sure facial hair is neat and trimmed.
Basics for Both
Man or woman, all items should be in good repair; clean with no holes or strains. Make friends with your iron. Neatly pressed does impress! And make sure you are as clean as your clothes. Keep hair under control and don’t overdo the fragrance - strong fragrances are frowned upon in the work place. Check out this video for a look at what’s appropriate for men and women on the job.
Help! I’ve got nothing to wear!
To prepare for an interview, make sure to add a few basic pieces to your wardrobe. You can find them anywhere and for any budget. Try stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for quality prices at a discount. I’ve found great deals on basics from the sale racks at Nordstrom’s and at Goodwill or a local thrift shop. For shoes, I like DSW but there’s always Payless. For women one trend to actually follow is the neutral trend - one shoe that will go with everything! For some frugal fashion tips, check out Dawn’s post here. Now get out there and nail that interview! (No pun intended)