How to dress to impress in your (office) job

Dress to impress, or how can we create a great impression with the help of our clothes? 

We’ve all heard about the importance of first impressions. Research shows that it takes about a tenth of a second for someone to form an opinion of you. People look at your appearance, body language and how you are dressed and instantly make an evaluation. Is your appearance consistent and matches how you would like to be perceived by your colleagues, managers or clients? 

Some companies have an official dress code, and we see a more relaxed dress code occurs in our workplaces. However, what we wear to work does make a difference. While it’s nice to think appearances don’t matter, they usually do.  

I want to share with you how you could optimise your appearance. The tips are related to jobs in an office environment. 


1. Dress to make the impression you want 

Let’s start with an entry-level career, or if you are starting a new job. 
When you are starting a new job, making the right impression is crucial. I recommend dressing up more formally but keep it within reason. Maybe don’t dress like the CEO. Remember what your manager wore in your interview. It’s perfectly reasonable to dress more formally than everyone else – at least at the start.

The benefits of that are, when you are dressed up, you show that you are prepared for whatever tasks you are given. Even if you are productive and a high achiever, looking disarranged or inappropriate can undermine your credibility and cause others to doubt your abilities. Also, being underdressed may signal that you don’t care about the job.As you become more comfortable and familiar with the company’s culture, you can reassess your wardrobe. 

Examples of what you could wear: 
Men: Fitted dress pants and a button-down shirt with loafers. Or a high-quality chino with a white button-down shirt and a jacket.

Women: Pixie pant with a comfortable blouse and flats or heels. Or a black A-Line skirt with a silken top and jacket.

The rule is the more layers, the dressier. Think of how you could add a layer, a jacket, a suit blazer, a nice knit/ jumper, and a cardigan. 


2. Dress to stand out 

Making the right closing choices when you move up in your job to a more senior position is essential. To help establish authority over your team, dress one level up from your members. For example, if your team members wear t-shirts, you could wear a polo shirt or a button-up shirt. If they wear jeans, you could wear chinos or fitted pants. Again, you could add a layer, which means the third piece to your outfit. That always adds polish and often that extra element of style.

Your outfit choice should show authority and would help in a large corporate office environment. Your managers will visually see you stand out as the team manager. 
Give thought to what is flattering for your age and body type and make you feel confident.

Think about your clothes in your wardrobe.
What makes you feel good about your ability to do the job? Dress tastefully and professionally to earn respect. The good news here: The more senior you are, the more play you have what you wear. I think at a certain level you earn the right to wear what you want. 

3. Powerful langue of colour 

Colours are known to lighten our mood, darken our mood or even get us in the right mood. I could probably write a separate blog post about colours. But I wanted to point out the most common colours in the business word and mention the different meanings. It’s important to consider that there’s no right or wrong definition, especially in different cultures.

Above I was writing about how quickly people make up their opinion about someone when they first see them. Around 70% of this judgment is based on colour alone. As an example: Think of a woman making an entrance into a room in a red dress. Or think of a businessperson wearing a rich navy suit. I would perceive the women as very confident and the man as a professional. 

Blue: Navy blue is a conservative, corporate colour. It is elegant, classic, and strong. When to wear? Every time you seek calm or wish to have a sense of authority and command. Blue is the colour most preferred by men. If you need to impress a primarily male audience, wearing this traditional blue could help you appear trustworthy and competent.

White: White is the colour of purity, innocence and sterility. Crisp and clean.
When to wear? If you would like to make an elegant appearance. You can wear white with anything. It gives you a balanced look.

Black: Black is synonymous with elegance and sophistication. It also deflects unwanted attention.
When to wear? Or better, when not to wear. Sometimes wearing black can overpower and obscure you rather than highlight your strengths with its simplicity. If you are going to a networking event or a party where you want to be acknowledged, black may not be helpful. However, they are ways to take advantage of black. It goes well with other clothes and colours, textures and fabrics. Wear this colour when you want to command leadership.  

Red: Ideal colour when feeling confident and wanting to draw attention to yourself.
When to wear? Wear red if you’re going to speak in public or want to stand out from the crowd. Avoid this colour if you are nervous. 

Yellow: It is a go-to colour to brighten up your mood. 
When to wear? Wear if you would like to appear cheerful and approachable. If you face a stressful situation by meeting someone new, yellow can convey a sense of likability. And you don’t have to wear it from head to toe; a little yellow goes a long way.


Conclusion: Just keep that in mind: A study has shown that around 80% of professionals and managers said clothing choices affect someone’s chances of being promoted. You are more likely to command respect and get what you want if you know how to dress professionally for work and casually for other situations.

*Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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