Common Mistakes in Achieving a Professional Appearance

Inappropriate Dress
Wearing clothing that is inappropriate for the event (i.e. glitter, sparkly, very sheer clothing to the office).

Improper Foundation Clothing
Underwear fit poorly or wearing none at all; bright underwear that shows through clothing.

Noisy Jewelry
Clunky jewelry that’s distracting/noisy (i.e. metal bracelets).

Run-over Shoes
Heels are worn, not polished; scuffed.

Dated Hairstyle/Clothing
You’re still wearing the same hairstyle and the double breasted suit you’ve had for twenty years.

Poorly Fitted Clothing
Clothing is too tight, too loose, etc.

Your appearance is a part of communication and lets people know about how you see yourself.  As a professional, it’s important to present an appearance that positively reflects your skills and abilities.

Clothing that fits poorly gives an impression that you do not pay attention to detail.   Dated hairstyles or dated clothing gives the impression that you do not adapt to change and that you are stuck in your ways.  Scuffed shoes or stained or ripped clothing again may indicate that you lack attention to detail or that you think poorly of yourself.Appearance

The Practical Reason

In a more practical sense, when you dress in clothing that fits and mirrors your personality, you will be able to focus more on your tasks at hand.  When was the last time you were at work and you kept thinking about whether the skirt you were wearing was too short, or your feet hurt due to poorly fitting shoes?   Mentally, this pulls you from the task at hand and prevents you from giving your full attention to what you’re paid to do.  Also, when you are uncomfortable, your confidence tends to wane and you begin to wonder whether anyone noticed the ill-fitting outfit you’re wearing.  Who has time for that?

You do not have to look like a celebrity to form a good first impression.  You should dress yourself in the best clothing your can afford.   The key is looking at fabric.   Try to avoid buying synthetic (man-made) fabrics.  These fabrics tend to not hold its shape.  Look for natural fabrics like cotton, etc.  These tend to last longer.  Look at the manufacturer’s tag.  If the fabric is more man-made than natural, you may want to reconsider purchasing.

On A Budget?

If you are on a very tight budget, then you can purchase clothing off-season.  For example, winter clothing is hugely discounted in January as stores make way for spring merchandise.   You can also try thrift stores/consignment shops where gently used clothing is greatly discounted.

Choose classic styles instead of trendy clothing.  Classic styles last through several fashion cycles whereas a trend may last on one season.  Try a new hairstyle or modify a dated style with a modern twist.  This can make all the difference in the world.

Please by all means go to a professional stylist to get a professional cut.   For cost cutting measures, you can go to a beauty school and get a student to cut it (Don’t worry they are supervised by a licensed instructor) for a fraction of the cost.  Try to opt for a cut that is low maintenance and ask the stylist how to maintain the cut in between visits.  A professional cut makes all the difference in the world and you’re worth it (smile).

About Your Attitude

Now let’s look at the last communications blunder, Attitude.

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