Dress Etiquette and Professionalism in the Workplace

Dress Etiquette in the Workplace

Professionalism at work can be shown through our behavior and attitude, but it can also be observed in our manner of dressing. Although many offices are casual environments, it is necessary to be in proper work attire. In addition to it being an unwritten rule, people who dress well always catch the attention of everyone around them, and it also defines them and the kind of people they really are.

Understanding what is meant by “appropriate work attire” will help us know what to wear and what not to wear in the office.

For corporate offices, it is always recommended to wear business attire. Ladies should wear pants or skirts, over collared tops. Sleeved dresses of appropriate lengths are also good. Earth shades, and black and white combinations are best for a corporate look. Shoes should be heeled; bright colors are best avoided for footwear. Men appear decent in pants and long sleeves, with well-polished shoes. They say that your “hairdo” is a statement in itself and by having a neatly done “do,” one can easily help you achieve a “corporate look.”

For casual offices such as those that do not come face to face with clients and customers, like BPO offices, it is not necessary to wear formal attire. Slacks and tops will do for women, and jeans and polo shirts are good for men. As long as the clothes you wear are not too revealing or too casual, it is perfectly all right. The problem with casual environments is that people tend to abuse their privileges in terms of what they should wear. Women report to work wearing sheer blouses or very short skirts, while men just wear tattered jeans and slip-ons. These do not speak highly of the person at all.

Below are No-No’s for work attire:

  1. Showy belts
  2. Slippers
  3. Scuffed shoes
  4. Body and face piercings
  5. Showing tattoos
  6. Ripped jeans
  7. Very tight pants and tops
  8. Shirts with offensive prints

Wearing the abovementioned clothes and accessories are going to give people you work with the impression that you are not a very professional person. If you have tattoos in your body, you need to keep them hidden while in the workplace.

Why Do You Need to Dress Appropriately in the Workplace?

Your manner of dressing reflects the kind of person you are. Sloppy dressers are perceived as lazy and irresponsible individuals, even if it is not really the case. If you dress well, you give an aura of confidence and will command respect from the people you work with. You will be looked up to as a person who knows exactly how to carry herself. Have you ever wondered why confident people are the ones who dress well? Or how others can get away with nervousness by just putting on great corporate attire on their first day of work? Have you had an extremely bad day because you realized you wore such a sloppy outfit, or a really good day because many people complimented you on how great you look in that new skirt? That is just the way it is, and the sooner you believe it, the better.

Showing Professionalism in the Workplace

Have you ever wondered why some people get more recognition than others? Do you know why there are individuals who are able to successfully climb their way up the career ladder even though you seem to have the same skill set? What makes them so different, anyway? The answer is professionalism.

Professionalism comprises a set of behaviors that makes a person behave in an appropriate manner in the workplace. A person who shows professionalism consistently is regarded well among colleagues and superiors because of the following reasons:

  1. It builds credibility. A person with a high level of professionalism is honest and hard working, which make it easier for others to deem him trustworthy.
  2. It shows good work ethics. These people do not let personal issues affect them at work; they exert a lot of efforts when working on every task handed out to them to ensure excellent outcomes even when they are at their worst times.
  3. It increases productivity. People who are professional do not waste time doing senseless things in the office. They manage their time wisely to ensure completion of tasks without comprising the quality of their outputs.

Indeed, professionalism will give others a better perception of you. As you probably know, how others see you is very important. If you are often thought of as a person who does not exert enough effort in doing your job, you are placed at a disadvantage because this means that they are not convinced in you and your ability to contribute to the success of the business. On the other hand, if they see you as someone who is highly professional in the way you carry yourself at work, it means that they trust you and look up to you as a role model in the company.

How does a person show professionalism at work?

Never come to work late. A professional is always punctual, whether it is a regular day at work, a meeting, or a business dinner. Tardiness can seriously hurt your image.

Treat others with respect. It does not matter if it is the CEO or a lowly employee- you have to respect them and treat them well.

Do not be too personal in the workplace. Being overly friendly and showing emotional weaknesses are not going to help in making you become professional. When everybody else knows most of the details of your personal life then you are not showing signs of professionalism at all.

Admit mistakes and be accountable. In the same way that you always exert your best efforts at work, do not be afraid to admit to your mistakes too and commit to doing a better job next time.

Also, it is worth mentioning that one of the things that are very indicative of professionalism is the way you dress. You have to dress appropriately. You cannot expect others to see you as someone who is professional if you wear sloppy clothes in the office. Again, remember that how others see you matters a lot. Make sure to choose what you wear carefully; crisp, neat, and smart-looking clothes can boost your professional image.

Text and graphic courtesy of Alice Clover.

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