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Chapter 2 Business Dress 101: Handling Attire Problems in the Workplace.

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1 Chapter 2 Business Dress 101: Handling Attire Problems in the Workplace

2 Clothes make the man – & the woman! When in doubt, always err on the side of dressing slightly more conservative than the situation demands You can always remove a jacket, but you cant put 1 on if you didnt take it with you!

3 Being less than perfectly well-dressed in a business setting can result in a feeling of profound discomfort Clothing mismatches on the job can ruin the day of the person whos wearing the inappropriate attire& the person with whom he/she comes in contact! Even casual day wardrobe selections that carry potentially dire implications on the job can be avoided with just a minimal investment of time, care, & attention

4 Know when to dress upor dress down Offices vary when it comes to dress codes No matter what your companys attitude is regarding what you wear, you are working in a business environment & you should dress accordingly This applies not only to business casual wear but to more formal business attire

5 Your attire should reflect both your environment & your position You can & will be judged by your personal appearance This is especially true on dress-down days when what you wear will say more about you than any business suit ever could People will actually pay more attention to what you wear on dress-down days than on business professional days

6 When dressing in business casual clothes, try to put some flair into your wardrobe choices: The real definition of business casual is to dress just one notch down from what you would normally wear on business-professional attire days

7 Avoid jeans; worn, wrinkled polo shirts; sneakers; scuffed shoes; halter-tops; & revealing blouses For men: wear a neat pair of pants & a buttoned shirt w/long or short sleeves that has more color or texture in the fabric For women: wear skirts or tailored pants with blouses, blazers & accessories that mean business yet convey a more casual look than your standard business attire

8 Know when its time for your organization to adopt a new dress policy How would you rate the way your colleagues or employees dress for work?

9 Do the women in your organization wear scrunchies & mules? Do male employees interpret permanent press as meaning not needing to be ironed, ever? Does it look like stock in Spandex must have risen dramatically based on the clothing choices of your organizations employees?

10 If you answered yes to any of the ?s – ask yourself if the way you & others representing your organization is reflective of the professional image you want your company to project...

11 If you are in a management position, draft a memo that updates the dress code Otherwise, consider suggesting, subtly, that someone in authority revisit your dress policy

12 1 simple, never to be violated, rule that applies to both men & women: Avoid wearing clothes that reveal too much or leave little to the imagination! Examples: Men who wear shorts to the office – even on Sat. – signal to others that they dont recognize standards for appropriate business casual dress The same is true for women who wear skirts that are tighter & shorter than business professional skirts Why risk the chance of not being taken seriously by managers & colleagues???

13 There are boundaries between your career & your social life You should dress 1 way for play & another way when you mean business Always ask yourself where you are going & how other people will be dressed when you get there

14 Remember the axiom – the clothes make the man (& the woman!) When in doubt, always err on the side of dressing slightly more conservative than the situation demands You can always take a jacket off, but you cant put one on if you didnt take it with you!

15 Avoid over-accessorizing Whether you are a man or a woman, the way in which you use accessories reveals a great deal about you Accessories can communicate who you are as a person, in the way you are presenting yourself & in your attention to detail

16 Jewelry: the basic rule in a business environment is that less is more Earrings on men are strictly taboo Women should choose earrings that are simple yet elegant & should wear no more than 1 pair Pins provide nice accents to a business ensemble, yet they need not be the main attention-grabber Be tuned into your org.s culture to decide whether or not you can wear multiple-bangle bracelets In some workplaces they are considered inappropriate For both M/F, appropriate in a professional setting means wearing a max. of 1 ring on each hand, worn on either the ring finger or the pinkie

17 Skip the cheap accessories The business pen you carry should portray a positive professional image Also be aware of the image that your briefcase, computer case, luggage, & umbrella make Are they as well maintained as they can possibly be? Do they look sharp? Should they be replaced?

18 If youre an employer, clarify business casual attire Some companies set up a dress-down day policy – then forget to tell employees exactly what they mean by dress-down

19 If you are the person responsible for creating a policy & procedure manual – or a detailed memo – that describes specifically what you do & dont want to see on business casual days By doing this, youll give your people guidelines to follow & help them plan that 3 rd wardrobe

20 Mention the basics: If you want men to wear shoes & socks instead of open-toes sandals & women to wear hosiery or trouser socks w/slacks – say so! By taking a few simple steps to formalize the boundaries of business casual day, you can clarify what is & isnt acceptable keep your business environment professional & avoid the strange looks from important visitors

21 Refer to the Book to solve attire problems among subordinates Appropriately update the org.s procedure manual to include a business casual code Depersonalize a reprimand regarding inappropriate dress by taking a rules are rules approach during a private/low-key meeting

22 Todays managers will have to contend with fashion statements that send the wrong messageloudlyto colleagues, visiting clients, & the boss In cases where youre looking at major provocations, rather than minor misunderstandings, your best bet is to pull the person aside, find a place for a private conversation, & explain the nature of the problem sensitively yet directly

23 Your cause will be considerably easier if you have a written dress code that outlines your org.s definition of business casual dress Begin by telling the person that he/she is a valued employee The explain--w/o making accusations or ridiculing their stylethat business casual dress is tricky & the way the company has attempted to avoid confusion is by stating what it considers appropriate in its handouts & printed materials

24 Let the offender know that the company needs his/her assistance nowthat its time to go home to change into appropriate business casual attire, rather than the casual & inappropriate garment(s) he/she is wearing Specify exactly what is over the line Be specific rather than assuming that the person will know No matter how far away the person lives, insist they go change – this will relay a message to others that rules are meant to be followed, & if not, changes will have to be made

25 Make sure your business casual dress says that you mean business How casual is your org.s business casual policy? The answer varies from co. to co. & not all co.s develop formal written guidelines for the benefit of employees

26 You will never get in trouble for being too underdressed in a business casual arena if you follow this 1 rule: Change your regular professional attire by only a single garment

27 Example: Men If your org.s culture requires that you wear a suit on business professional days, wear a sport coat when dressing business casual Example: Women Swap that conservative blouse you wear on most days with a knit top that is compatible with your blazer

28 By following this simple & conservative rule when dressing business casual, youll still be able to go to a last-minute client meeting on a moments notice w/o having to apologize for how you look

29 Is it appropriate for women to wear slack suits on dress-down days in professional environments where this would otherwise be considered inappropriate??? It depends on the culture of the org. for which you work The safest standard is probably to keep an eye on what the highest-ranking woman in your org. does & follow her example

30 How does your org. recommend that you dress for work? Are you encouraged to dress up one notch from business casual, so that you look like you are ready to do business on a moments notice?

31 Whatever guidelines your org. has set out, you can be sure that the way you dress is a reflection of how credible you are perceived by clients, vendors, investors, &/or stockholders

32 Ask yourself: How would others describe your style of dress at work? Would it be business professional? Would it be business casual? Or might it be seen as business sloppy!?!

33 Today in business, looking the part has definitely resurfaced as a priority in the eyes of many decision-makers Thats why so many org.s are encouraging their employees to wear business ready attire

34 Dressing in a business ready mode means wearing clothes that ensure that you are one of the first individuals to come to mind when your manager realizes he/she is double-booked & needs an instant replacement for that upcoming meeting Business Ready means never having to say youre sorry for how you look during a meeting

35 Business Ready attire means dressing for the position you want rather than for the one you have Its the best (& most lucrative) approach to business attire, & its one you should adopt whatever formal style guidelines your organization follows

36 Dont pick clothes that reveal too much or too little to the imagination When in doubt, always err on the side of dressing slightly more conservatively than the situation demands Keep accessories to a tasteful minimum Avoid chintzy-looking accessories If youre the boss, make it clear exactly what business casual attire means in your workplace

37 Avoid pointless conflictspull errant or inappropriately dress employees aside, & have a low-key rules are rules meeting about company attire standards - make sure you have a documented dress policy at hand

38 Still stumped about what to wear? Try this rule: Change your regular professional attire by only a single garment


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