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Proper Business Attire for Women- Infographic

There is an old saying “the clothes make the man” or in this case the woman.  In the modern culture many women think, “oh, I should be able to be myself” and “they shouldn’t judge me by how I dress” and “I just want to be comfortable”. 

But unfortunately people’s brains are wired to make snap judgements and once they are made it is difficult to change them. So unless you are working in a stable you shouldn’t dress like you are.

Here are some great tips on dressing for success in the modern business world.

Women Dress for SuccessWear Clothes that Fit

It is a simple thing but even expensive clothes that don’t fit exactly right won’t look good. It may be only an inch but a jacket with sleeves that are too long or too short can make you look dumpy. The same goes for pants that are too long or short.

Dress Appropriately for Your Industry

If you work in an office you should dress like it. Similarly if you work at Home Depot a fancy suit wouldn’t be appropriate either. Use a little common sense and wear clothes that look nice and reflect the job that you are doing.

Don’t Look Like You Just Hopped Out of the Shower

Be sure to set your clock to give yourself enough time to get ready in the morning. If 15 minutes more sleep is that important go to bed 15 minutes earlier. In the morning, take time to dry your hair and get yourself ready to look your best. Wet hair gives the impression that you have “poor time management skills”  or worse yet that you just don’t care.

Pay attention to Your Toes

If you are going to show your toes you had better give them extra care. Let’s face it without a lot of work most toes aren’t all that cute. So if you want to show them off they better look good!

Dress for the Position You Want

Remember the scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway decides to dress better and recruits Nigel (Stanley Tucci) to help her get the right look?

Clothes make all the difference in the world, not only in the movies but in real life as well.

The way you dress shows that you care and is a reflection of your professionalism.

The Don’ts

Don’t wear too many accessories. In an office environment you often work very closely with your coworkers. It is considered rude and distracting to wear noisy bangles, necklaces, etc.

Don’t wear anything ripped. Yes it may be the fashion but it reflects badly on the company and won’t go over well.

Don’t dress for the gym (unless of course you work in a gym). That means no yoga pants, sweat pants, shorts, swimsuits, or leggings.

Don’t wear strong perfume. Some of your coworkers might be allergic.

Don’t wear too much make-up. As we said above morning preparation is important, you want to look nice but that doesn’t mean dressing like you are going out on the town. Just like your clothes, your make-up should reflect the job that you do.

The Interview

First impressions are vitally important in an interview situation. How you dress reflects your decision making process so it isn’t just “a silly outmoded notion.” You can choose to dress like a biker-chick or a fashion model or anything in between so judging you by how you look is not as crazy as it sounds. So dress appropriately for the interview.

In an office environment a dark skirt or pants paired with a light top is always appropriate. Avoid crazy or bold colors. A single string necklace that isn’t too long is tasteful. And your shoes should be something you would feel comfortable walking around all day in.  Platforms and 3 inch heels are out!

Even if the office environment is casual it is best to dress more formally for the interview. A basic rule of thumb is to dress one step nicer for the interview than you would for work.


Fresh minimal makeup shows you care about your appearance. Light neutral nails, and groomed hair pulled back from your face will give you a neat professional appearance.

The Office Party

Remember you will still have to see these people on Monday so keep it appropriate. Dress nicely for the type of party it is. If it is during work hours don’t dress for a nightclub. Be sure to check on the dress code for the party. If it is after hours it could be “black tie” or it could be the company picnic… dress appropriately.

We would like to thank our friends at NewLook for preparing this infographic.

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About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+