Business dress code is often a question of common sense prevailing while deciding what to wear to the work place. However, cases of dressing disasters continue to occur, especially during the summers when you might find a colleague dressed up to work with a "day at the beach" hangover.
The reason these eyebrow-raising errors in dress codes occur is that many companies, especially start-ups and small to medium-scale businesses, have relaxed norms to almost no norms on dress code. Even if there are dress code rules, at times, they are vague and ambiguous. In such situations, it is always advisable to err on the part of “too formal” attire, as opposed to arriving dressed up informally enough to raise a few eyebrows.
A few common errors people make in business dressing are −
Ill-Fitting Clothes − Clothes too big give you a bloated look and too tight fitting clothes accentuates the body in a non-formal way. In a meeting, you would not want the attention to shift from you and your presentation towards your clothes.
Wearing Short Skirts/Sleeves − Short skirts and sleeves draw attention to your legs and hands when you sit down. That diverts the attention of the listeners and appears unprofessional.
Wearing Short Socks − Short socks, or drooping socks expose skin and that distracts attention while crossing legs or sitting down. Always go for socks that cover 3/4th the distance from the ankle to the knee. Avoid wearing white socks as they immediately draw notice towards themselves.
Low-Cut or Plunging Tops − Just as with short skirts, this distracts an interviewer and looks very out of place in a professional environment that requires a conservative dress code.
Improper Color Choices − Colors, like green, yellow, red, etc., do not go down well in corporate circles. They not only draw attention towards themselves but also look unprofessional.
Clothes with Quotes, Pictures or Designs − This lends a very informal and non-serious look to the interviewee. There is always a risk of people associating the slogans and mottos on the t-shirts to be your personal points of view.
Poorly-Maintained Shoes − Shoes are a very important part of your business attire. Shoes, in a way, announce your arrival even before you interact with someone, so naturally, it draws a lot of attention. It is for this reason that your shoes should be always clean and polished.
Not Dressing Formally For Business Social Events − Even dinners at the boss’ house are formal business occasions. So, dress accordingly. The general rule about informal business dressing is that it should be treated as formal clothing.
Improper Grooming − Unclipped nails, odorous breath and unkempt hair are all red-checks. If you are one of those who perspire profusely, use anti-sweat deodorants. However, keep in mind that the meetings will be mostly in air-conditioned rooms with very less chance of fresh air entering the room. So, wear a perfume or deodorant of a mild fragrance.
In addition to the tips discussed here, there are a few areas that need to be taken care of before you finally enter the premises and knock on that door. Let us discuss these −
Avoid noisy and squeaky shoes as they will disturb and distract everyone.
Trousers’ side-pockets should not bulge with mobile phones, wallets etc., as it gives a bulky look to your legs.
All noticeable body-piercing, tattoos should be concealed, as tattoos are since long, associated with rebellious behavior.
Do not smoke or eat odorous food before interviews. Use breath fresheners.
Clean your nails and teeth properly.