How to Dress for Success

By Claire Meirowitz  |  Posted 2009-03-24

Your mother may have told you that “clothes make the man,” but that also applies to women.

How you dress makes a difference not only in how people perceive you in the workplace, but also in how you feel about yourself. It can even affect whether you get the job in the first place.

Here are some tips to help women look and feel professional:

1. Resist the temptation to ditch your pantyhose, even if your company’s dress code doesn’t require them. Bare legs definitely don’t convey a professional look.

2. Regular sandals and open-toed shoes—worn with toeless stockings—are usually acceptable, but flip-flops, toe-post sandals and the like are not.

3. Tall and lean? Choose horizontal patterns in your jackets. A windowpane or glen-plaid jacket with a solid trouser or skirt will break up the vertical line and make you appear shorter.

4. Full-figured? Then consider a side-zipped trouser with a wide straight leg that skims over your body. Choose a jacket cut to just below your waist, to make your legs look longer than your torso.

5. Petite? A cropped jacket can make your legs appear longer.

Here are some tips to help men look professional even when wearing business casual.

1. Determine what’s appropriate by what your boss wears on casual days.

2. Suit, but no tie: This style is the dressiest casual look.

3. Sports coats: Earth tones or gray tones can mix and match with numerous shirt patterns.

4. Trousers: Medium to dark worsted wool is your best bet.

5. Shirts: Stick to long-sleeved sport shirts or dress shirts with the collar open, rather than short-sleeved shirts. Never wear a T-shirt or cut-offs to the office—no matter how hot it gets.