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Dress Code for Business


Dress Code for Business from Interviews Business professionals are always recommended to dress the part in a bid to build a successful career. Research done in many companies has indicated that most employers and organizations lay grave signifi...Read More


~Posted on Feb 2018

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Dress Code for Business from Interviews Busines...

Dress Code for Business from Interviews

Business professionals are always recommended to dress the part in a bid to build a successful career. Research done in many companies has indicated that most employers and organizations lay grave significance in the proper dress code. For instance, a study done recently on the issue of dress code found that approximately 41% of employers indicated that employees who dress the part and in the proper dress code have a higher chance to get promotions than those who dress less professionally (Haefner, 2008). According to Haefner (2008), in some of the industries, the likelihood of getting a promotion for employees who dress professionally goes as high as 55%. One of the reasons behind these conclusions is the fact that a proper and professional dress code always give a good and lasting impression. Psychologists have also indicated that the first impression adopted by a person determines the decision taken by that person (Lorenz, 2008). In a business or a corporate setting, staff members who are usually professionally and well-dressed usually form better image or impression with their fellow colleagues and even clients. As such, organizations are known to institute a particular dress code with the aim of making their workforce appear as professional as possible. Nonetheless, developing a dress code can quite cumbersome considering resistance from the staff. In this paper, the different dress code appropriate for different circumstances will be analyzed and further discussed.

In the contemporary marketplace, a lot of importance is attached to a professional image usually portrayed by the business attire. The argument behind this ideology emanates from the fact that the appearances of a particular staff member is much exhibited by the way he/she dresses (Andrews & Baird, 2005). In this, most colleges and universities advise their students on how to create the best impressions within the first 60 seconds of any meeting, an aspect usually emphasized to be the cornerstone of their success in their future business dealings(Cardon&Okoro, 2009). Lecturers especially in marketing and management in the colleges and universities routinely train students on the awareness of the business environment in a bid to prepare them for their professional occupations (Cardon&Okoro, 2009). One of these trainings touches on the significance of conforming to certain professional standards in the workplace such as the dress code. By merely dressing the part, the impression in the workplace formed is that of conformity. There has been a number of cases of lost lawsuits, loss of jobs and end of careers simply because an employee failed to comply or rather look the part. It is, therefore, critical that the impression of conformity adhered in the business environment to ensure success and avert unnecessary conflicts.

The TV show dubbed as Ugly Betty probably provides the contemporary employee with the insights and expectations attached to dressing the part while looking attractive at the same time. The tv shows manages to encourage the aspect of conformity in dressing and how we dress affects our working experiences especially with regards to appearances. According to the TV show Ugly Betty, Betty is a character in the show that does not conform to the contemporary styles of dressing. This is regardless of the fact that she is quite aspiring and very competent at her work(Ugly Betty, 2006). The irony is that whereas she works as an editor at a fashion magazine which provides insight into the contemporary trends especially in the in the fashion industry, she does not seem to replicate the same in her dress code. The show depicts some of Betty’s colleague rising up so fast the corporate even where she is considered the most competent one. According to her, the clothes are not as important and practical in the world we live in and thus must not overshadow one’s inner beauty. Nonetheless, Betty’s dress code portrays a rather interesting sense of veneer honesty, fairness, and probably undisputable inclination to conform to the organization’s dress code (Ugly Betty, 2006).

Regardless of the fact that Betty is very competent, very loyal, hardworking and reliable in her work, she does not invoke the respect she deserves probably because of her non-stylistic and unfashionable dress code. She, therefore, becomes the easy target for jokes, ridicule and disparaging comments from her colleagues(Ugly Betty, 2006). Her dress code is rather offensive to the fashion trends and overshadows her kindness and hardworking nature thus falling victim of resentment as well as mistrust. According to the lesson learned from the TV show Ugly Betty, were it not for her poor sense of styles and unfashionable appearances, Betty would have it to Senior Vice President faster than anyone in the organization(Ugly Betty, 2006). The magazine performs very well courtesy of her competence and hard work, but that is not enough to help her rise fast in her career. This therefore implies that appearances are just as important as competence for career success. It is therefore very important that business students or prospective employees and interviewees realize that dressing the part by any business professional can go a long way in complementing one’s competency and creating a good lasting impression.

How to dress as an Interviewee

Before an interviewee even utters any word to the interviewer, he/she has made an impression in light of how he/she is dressed. Each organization has its own dress code and how one dresses up in an interview may have nothing to do with how one may dress up in the course of the job.

Men

Dress must dress in a way that is professionally fitting to the position for which one is applying. Most often this implies wearing a suit. It is infrequently suitable to "dress down" for an interview, paying a little respect to organization dress code. A man ought to wear a suit to interviews. "Suit" implies the job: a coordinating coat and trousers, dress shirt, a matching tie, matching socks and dress shoes. A dull-hued suit with a light shaded shirt is your best alternative. The suit should be well fitting and not with very shouting colors such as yellow and white. The cloth to be worn in the interview must be clean, and properly squeezed or rather ironed (careernetwork.msu.edu).

While it might be suitable to dress all the more coolly for a brief moment interview, you must in any case dress professionally. It's better to be excessively spruced up than excessively casual in an interview. A decent, dependable guideline is to dress like your supervisor. Shoes ought to be decently cleaned and in great condition, not scraped or run down at the heels. The shoes worn must also match with the belt. An interviewee will get a lot of utilization out of a decent quality pair of dress shoes in a customary style. Dressing professionally shows regard for oneself, the interviewer, and the organization. You might not need to dress like this consistently, yet you are more inclined to be considered important when you display yourself in a Professional way and take the time to take care of major points of interest(careernetwork.msu.edu).

Women

For the most part, women must wear a suit with a skirt or trousers. A lady’s suit must be matching and well fitting. However, if the waistband is cutting down the middle or the coat is too tight, that dress code won't look or enable the interviewee to act her best. Interview suits ought to be straightforward and dull in shading. Anything tight, splendid, short, or sheer ought to completely be avoided. Interviewers have been known to complain about the length of interviewees' skirts especially if they are presumably too short. As such, knee-length skirts are recommended. An interviewee must also wear blouse together with the suit. Very bright and shouting colors, as well as too much, make up must be avoided by female interviewees at all cost. In this regard, the makeup as well as the nail polish should be modest while at the same flattering. The Shoes ought to be decently low-heeled as well as conservative. They must also be in great condition, without any scuffles or run down at the heels. A female interviewee must also not wear shoes with an open toe or back. An interviewee must also dress in a way that is professionally fitting to the position for which she is applying(careernetwork.msu.edu).

Business Professional - When going to a professional occasion, for example, profession fairs or interviews, making an early introduction is key. For these occasions, wearing a business professional dress is the most fitting manifestation of clothing. Professional dress, for men, basically implies a dim business suit, conservative shirt worn with a tie, and sparkling dress shoes. For ladies, professional dress means a dull evaded or pantsuit, conservative dress shirt, shut toe with a heel. No matter what the recruiter wears in the interview or what the dress code is in the work environment for the job being interviewed for, the proper clothing for a student and interviewee (unless overall demonstrated) is business professional. Keep in mind, the selection representative as of now works for the organization -you are the one being assessed. Wearing business professional clothing demonstrates that an interviewee consider the interview or occasion important(careernetwork.msu.edu).

Dressing and Personal Appearance

Clothing is considered to be one aspect that communicates non-verbally to others. It is for this reason that people usually use the appearances and dressing of a person to determine his/her status, credibility, and persuasiveness. In this regard, it is very important for one to dress in a manner that say a lot of positives things about him/her as well as appropriate (Hamilton, 2008). In the past, the definition of a dress code or appropriate dressing was rather definite with clear cut description. However, in the contemporary business and social environment, the meaning of appropriate dressing and dress codes is changing to include both the traditional definitions as well as the casual wear (Evans, 2008). For instance, the definition of an appropriate casual wear in a business environment may vary from sporty, to smart casual to rugged and dressy. Smart casual, for instance, is a mode of contemporary work place dress code that changes with different organizations, as well as different circumstances. For instance, a smart casual for an office party may differ from the smart casual for an outing event and also differ from Friday smart casual adopted by many organizations(Evans, 2008).

Business organizations that have defined a strict dress code as well as uniforms have learned from experience that the customer’s expectations and public perception squarely lies with the organization’s overall climate which gives them a particular identity. This identity, as well as perception by the customers, is usually adopted majorly from the employee’s dress codes(Hamilton, 2008). Such organizations usually have dress codes clearly articulated in a document availed to all employees both new and existing by the human resource department. Nonetheless, most of the dress codes adopted by organizations are usually not expressly defined but rather enforced through practice. In such cases, employees are usually advised to watch and learn how the bosses and the managers dress up for work and emulate the same(Hamilton, 2008). In this regard, if the managers or the boss is always on suits, it is, therefore, advisable for any employee to adopt the same dress code culture. However, this does not mean that employees must imitate the dressing styles of their bosses but rather adopt the form of dressing in a much more personalized manner(Evans, 2008).

The business casual is a contemporary dress that first began in the 1980s among the white collar jobs in the technology businesses especially in the Silicon Valley(Hamilton, 2008). The casual wear has introduced confusion especially in the corporate setting. This is because the traditional categorization of dress codes involved, formal wear, informal wear, and casual wear. The definition of a business casual wear in the contemporary dress code implies that an employee does not have to dress up in a suit. However, this definition of business casual does not imply that an employee can go to work with shorts, skimpy jeans, leather tights or bubble dress. In this regard, business casual usually implies smart casual that is very different from other forms of casual wear. Business casual, for instance, may mean, corduroy pants, khaki pants, sporty jackets, dress, normal shirts, sweaters and casual loafers just to mention a few. Friday casuals may mean all the above including jeans, t-shirts(Evans, 2008).

Dressing the Part

The clothes that are worn by any person do make an enormous difference. Whether as a manger, an interviewee in an interview, asking your boss for a promotion, giving a presentation to business prospectus or even networking, the way in which one is dressed may be difference between closing a deal or not, getting a job and losing it or getting a promotion. Dressing has equated in many occasions with gift wrappings. When a gift is poorly wrapped, the gift itself may be perceived as cheap even if it was a very expensive diamond ring or gold watch. As Whitmore (2005) indicated, the appearance of a person may either create a very negative or a very positive and beneficial impression. The subconscious mind of the human is made in a way that unconsciously form judgments on an individual’s background, education level and socioeconomic status depending on how that person is dressed up(Whitmore, 2005). Underdressing may lead to an embarrassment both the underdressed person as well as his/her colleagues. On the other hand, if one is overdressed in the workplace, he/she may end up intimidating others. In this regard, business professions should, therefore, ensure that their dressing communicates a very positive but powerful statement about themselves (Whitmore, 2005).

The biggest question, therefore, is what is the exact impression created to others when one dresses up either in a sloppy or inappropriate manner? The impression created from such unorthodox form of dressing is that the person does not either respect himself/herself, the person does not care about his/her corporate image or even the person does not mind about his/her appearance(Pagana, 2009). Further to this, a business professional must be aware of the different dress codes that are considered appropriate for different positions and occasions(Pagana, 2009). As earlier indicated, one way of ensuring that one’s dress is appropriate for a given position is simply emulating the boss’s style such that the dress code adopted matches theirs. For instance, a teacher will adopt a very different dress code from that adopted by a corporate executive. Career experts have insisted on many occasions that individuals who aim at advancing their careers must dress like their immediate supervisors or bosses at the workplace.

However, there is a major challenge in the distinguishing of appropriate dress code between the men and the women. Women tend to face much more difficulty in choosing professional dressing since professional dresses for men is quite defined. The most generic and obvious professional dressing of a man is a suit and tie(Pagana, 2009). The vagueness of the distinction of women professional dressing provides a leeway for adoption of inappropriate dressing. For instance, there has been a common concern raised by the dress codes of women in a professional setting. Such concerns include very short skirts, tight-fitting skirts, a lot of makeup, unprofessional hair styles and too much of casual clothing(Pagana, 2009). There have also been cases where complaints have arisen on sexually provocative dressing among the women in a workplace place environment. As such, ladies should seek to avoid such controversial mode of dressing especially in a professional setting. In addition to dressing, women have to incorporate accessories such as handbags and jewelry in their dress code. These accessories should also follow the same guidelines as the dressing (Pagana, 2009).

However, the challenges surrounding the aspect of an appropriate dress code are quite numerous and growing by the day. One such challenge involves identity conflicts. Therefore, the main question arising is – is transgender dressing in a professional setting an appropriate dress code? The other challenges emanate from the different cultural and religious implications of the dress code. For instance, in France, there has been a dress code conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims especially in cases where ladies cover their faces. Is such a dress code acceptable as a professional mode of dressing? In the wake of globalization, international business organizations have had to deal with issues considering the cultural diversity.

In conclusion, a dress code is very important to the progress and success of one’s career. Different organizations have different dress codes for different positions and different circumstances. As such, an individual must ensure they conform to the dress code in a bid to create a very powerful and strong impression about themselves as well as gain respect from others. This is because the first judgment about a person is made based on the way they are dressed. However, future research must look into the professional dress code expectation especially where social cultural and religious diversities exist.

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