It’s not just enough to know that it’s important to dress with thought. It’s so important to truly understand how to dress with thought and why it’s so important. Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine you’re getting ready in the morning, knowing that you have an important appointment you’ve been working on for over a year. In your mind, go into your closet and think about what you’re going to wear— your best selection. Now, make that outfit your new bar for what you’re going to wear to work every day, because you never know when a business prospect will present itself.
• Wear clothing that fits properly. Your skirt or pants should pass the swish test, meaning they aren’t so tight you can’t shift them around on your hips.
• Your blouse shouldn’t gap or pull open across your chest. Keep double-sided tape at your office in case the blouse “shrinks.”
• Skirts or dresses shouldn’t be higher than a horizontal finger-width or two above the knee. Make sure your skirt doesn’t ride up your thigh when you sit down or kneel.
• Keep heels three inches high or under (most professional height is under three inches) to work. Shoes should be business-appropriate—not casual.
• Don’t wear a sleeveless top or dress in a professional setting. If your blouse is sleeveless, keep a jacket on. Clothes should be comparable to a man’s suit. You wouldn’t expect to see a man in a sleeveless tank, unbuttoned shirt, no socks, or inappropriate shoes. Follow that lead. If the temperatures are soaring and perspiring is a big issue, still take a light cotton or linen jacket with you and wear the jacket for the shortest time possible. Note: Why do you think men wear undershirts with their button-down shirts? To absorb the perspiration. They add, not subtract.
• Be a minimalist when it comes to jewelry. You do not want to distract from what you’re saying. Pearls are still a uniform staple when you’re dealing with the wide range of age groups we encounter at the office.
• Skip the sheer clothing, even with a slip or a camisole. Sheer shrugs are not office attire either.
• Skip the perfume and heavy makeup.