Throughout your professional journey there are many times a polished image can aid in your success. From interning to interviews, presentations or future job promotions, being mindful of what you’re wearing can have a great influence on your confidence and overall achievements. Deciding what to wear to work becomes a direct reflection of who you are. Although many companies today do lean towards a culture of business casual, there are still plenty of fields, positions, and circumstances where business formal is respectable. But what really defines business formal from business casual? Is there a rulebook? Dress codes are surely a subjective topic, a case by case situation between candidate and company. One thing is for certain: dressing for success is an important step in any professional preparation process.
Why Does What You Wear Matter?
● It takes only a tenth of a second to form an impression of a complete stranger from the appearance of their face alone.
● Within the first minute of an introduction, people subconsciously form a positive, negative, or neutral opinion of others.
● Clothing impacts perceptions of one’s personal & professional image.
The Five Most Common Dress Codes Mentioned throughout Job Listings (No specific order)
● Business Formal
● Business Professional
● Business Casual
● Small Business Casual
How to gain insights on a company’s dress code before you interview:
1) Observe: When in the office to drop off a resume/application, take note of the outfits that others are wearing. Is there a sneaker culture or are dress shoes more the norm?
2) Get Online: Through the company’s social profiles you can often find pictures that give you an inside look at the company culture, including everyday attire worn by current employees. The website of a prospective employer may be far more formal than the culture of the office. Don’t rely on executive headshots to give you an idea of the office attire.
3) Visit: Take a stroll around the surroundings of the office. Watching people pass through the lobby or parking lot can give you a better sense of the work-crowd in that specific area.
4) Ask: If you know someone already employed, use them as a resource. And when in doubt, when you get the job, just ask your HR representative before your first day!
Even the most prepared candidates who research their prospective role as well as the company background, will commonly forget to consider the office dress code. T.M.Lewin, London-based tailors, have crafted a handy guide to help us decipher the various workplace dress codes. Aspiring professionals should be able to navigate office cultures with confidence, style and ease. T.M.Lewin has been dressing professional workforces since 1898 with a popular range of men’s and ladies’ shirts.
This article was contributed by guest author Caleb Wells.