Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Business Attire Etiquette

Never, ever underestimate the critical importance of attire within the corporate culture. What you wear says a lot about you, and you can damage or even destroy your chances of success in business by dressing inappropriately. What do your clothes say about you? Do they say you have good sense and good taste? Do they say you have self-respect and that you have respect for those you deal with every day? People, particularly your superiors, are apt to conclude that the quality of your work will match the quality of your appearance. If your organization has a dress code, observe both the letter and the spirit of the code right off the bat. Don’t assume that a white shirt and striped tie will fit into any office situation.

For instance, a recent nationwide study by Levi Strauss & Co. and the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 9 out of 10 office workers now enjoy the freedom to wear casual clothing at least occasionally. If the organization does not have a dress code, you can’t go wrong by studying how the senior managers dress. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. It only means you care enough to get things right. Say to your boss: “I’m a little puzzled by the variety of styles I see here. What kind of dress best represents the company?” Avoid extreme fashions. Don’t buy things just because the fashion gurus say so. Think about what is good for you and your career rather than what is in vogue.

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