How to Dress Professional: What It Is and Why It's Important?

Dressing professionally in the workplace

Dressing appropriately for a job interview, a networking event, or the first day in a new position is important for making a good impression and coming off as professional as possible. Dressing professionally often refers to a more formal workplace dress code and is most often seen and required in more traditional organizations. When it comes to job interviews, professional dress is the standard no matter what the company's overall dress code may be.

Here I'll tell you what it means to dress professionally, why it's important to dress professionally, tips for choosing the best outfits for this type of dress, and the difference between business professional attire and business casual attire.

What does it mean to dress professionally?

Dressing professionally often refers to a type of dress code that’s more formal than business casual or casual attire. This type of dress code is most often seen in traditional office settings like those in finance, accounting, and government organizations. This type of attire is also often expected at formal networking events, job fairs, and job interviews unless otherwise noted by the company.

There are several reasons why you should dress professionally, including that it:

  1. Helps you make a good first impression on the job interviewer or networking professionals.
  2. Can increase your self-confidence by allowing you to come off as professional and confident.
  3. Promotes respect from others.
  4. Can improve your motivation and productivity in the workplace by encouraging you to get more things done.
  5. Gives you a competitive edge over other candidates. Many hiring managers believe that how someone dresses directly affects their job and promotion potential.

Business professional attire vs. business casual attire

There are a few key differences between business professional attire and business casual attire. These differences include:

  1. Business casual attire is most often seen in more relaxed work environments, such as tech companies and modern organizations, while business professional attire is a staple in most traditional organizations.
  2. Business casual attire allows for more freedom of expression and gives employees the opportunity to show off their unique flare, while business professional attire does not.
  3. Business casual attire is typically less expensive than business professional attire.
  4. Business casual attire is typically more comfortable compared to business professional clothing.
  5. Business casual attire often allows for more colourful clothing, while business professional attire typically requires neutral or solid colours and prints.

Tips for dressing professionally

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a business professional outfit:
  1. Always opt for longer rather than shorter dresses and skirts.
  2. Cover any visible tattoos if possible.
  3. Do not wear body or facial piercings.
  4. Choose jewellery and accessories that work with your outfit rather than those that are distracting.
  5. Always wear clothing that is pressed and clean.
  6. Choose clothes that are well-fitted and avoid wearing too-tight or too-loose attire.
  7. Wear shoes that are polished and clean.
  8. Wear your hair in a conservative style and a natural hair colour.
  9. Avoid wearing clothes that are transparent or revealing.
  10. Wear tops that come to at least your biceps if you’re unsure if sleeveless blouses are allowed.
  11. Avoid wearing strong perform or don’t wear any perfume.
  12. Opt for neutral colours whenever possible.
  13. Keep nails manicured, neat, and colour them in a neutral nail polish if at all.
  14. Wear natural or light makeup.
  15. Choose quality over quantity when it comes to accessories.
  16. Always consider what message your outfit is sending before wearing it.
  17. Wear clothes that you feel confident in to avoid distraction or feeling uncomfortable while at work or in an interview.