Can the Way You Dress Determine Your Success in the Workplace?

It’s important to dress appropriately if you’re interested in doing well at work. You’re going to be judged according to your appearance by clients, business associates, higher ups etc. The first impression you make on anyone is based on your appearance. So make sure you pay attention to it.

Society might tell people to dress a certain way to look more attractive but work norms indicate dressing differently. How do you make sure that you are appropriately dressed for work without looking dowdy? How do you make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing without standing out in a bad way?


The first thing you need to make sure is that you have a generally neat air about you. Your clothes need to be washed and ironed. They shouldn’t look ratty, like you’ve been wearing them for the last ten years and they’re about to fall apart. They should be the right size for your body. If you exude a general air of neatness, you’ll create the impression of being organized and in control, which is how you want your superiors to see you.

Casual, Formal or Business Casual?

It’s not just enough to be neat, however. You also need to make sure that your clothes are appropriate for the workplace. If your workplace is casual, you can get away with jeans and t-shirts. Still, it’s a good idea to make sure that those jeans and t-shirts are clean and wrinkle-free.

On the other hand, if your workplace has a formal or business casual dress code, then take a look at the people around you. Observe what they’re wearing. In workplaces like these, the more formal you look, the better. And you can never go wrong with a suit.

Attractive vs. Provocative

For women, it’s important to make sure that the way you dress does not come across as provocative. A skirt which ends above the knee is safest. Once your hemline starts climbing higher than that, you have to be careful. The same goes for plunging necklines. You can still look attractive, of course and there’s no need to cover up completely. Just make sure that your appearance doesn’t distract from what you’re saying.

“Grunge,” “Goth” and Other Personal Styles

Everyone wants to express who they are through their clothes and their appearance. However, it may not be a good idea to bring a “grunge” or a “goth” look into the workplace unless it has a completely casual dress code. One solution is to hold on to one piece—a scarf, a brooch or a belt—that expresses who you are without distracting from your overall professional look. This will give you the satisfaction of expressing your fashion sense and looking original as well.