We all know the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” but I wouldn’t recommend dressing like the star of Disney on Ice at work if you are hoping to be taken seriously. Sometimes, you just need to dress for the job you actually do have. Our friends at Quill created this great infographic to walk through office wardrobe essentials to make your life a little easier.
Here’s the checklist:
• Don’t wear flip-flops, hoodies, and ripped or casual jeans While undeniably comfortable, these items are too informal for all but the most relaxed work environments, and many people consider them unprofessional. Play it safe by nixing these items from your work wardrobe. If your office does permit jeans, learn how to make jeans look professional (for instance, choose darker washed jeans, pair them with a blazer, and tuck in your blouse).
• Don’t wear heels unless you want to If you prefer to be more comfortable—or are worried about walking in heels—it’s entirely possible to look professional in flats. You can’t go wrong with closed-toe, loafer-style, or pointy-toed options.
• Don’t overdress relative to the boss While you may have heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have,” it’s not without its pitfalls. If you wear a full suit to work every day while your boss sticks to casual slacks and graphic tees, you’re more likely to look out of touch than like executive material. Instead of fixating on impressing other people, simply dress neatly and professionally and keep your focus on the job.
Don’t worry too much about your outfit. It may seem preposterous to end a list of workplace wardrobe tips by saying, “Don’t worry about fashion in the workplace,” but it’s important to remember that your appearance is not the only factor that shapes how you’re perceived at work. People will remember you more for your confidence, work ethic, work performance, attitude, and authenticity than they will for your clothes. And ultimately, judgments on your attire say more about the judger than they do about you. So long as you dress neatly and appropriately, you’re ready to go to work and seize the day.