Tips on Business Dress Etiquette and Grooming

by Karin Schroeck-Singh

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  • Avoid out-dressing your boss.
  • Choose your business wardrobe's staple colours from: navy blue, charcoal gray, black, khaki, white.
  • Female Don'ts:
  1. Skirts with long slits that reveal a lot of upper leg.
  2. Tight clothes that ride up when sitting or walking.
  3. Shirts and tops that show any skin in the midriff area.
  4. Sleeveless blouses worn without jacket.
  5. Shoes that are uncomfortable after 5 minutes of wear.
  6. Plastic flip-flop type shoes.
  7. Tennis shoes and/or sneakers.
  8. Country western wear cowboy boots.
  9. Hats of any kind (unless worn outside in rain).
  10. Deep cut blouses that expose the cleavage in a provocative manner.
  11. Anything that exposes or highlights private parts of the anatomy.See through blouses.
  12. Blouses worn outside with curved tails (straight hem around are okay).
  • Appropriate female business attire:
  1. Suits, dresses, skirts with dressy sweaters or blouses.
  2. A jacket with a sleeveless blouse and skirt or dress slacks.
  3. A matching suit or blazer with slacks.
  4. Long sleeve blouse if not wearing jacket
  5. A purse or bag that will accommodate necessities, but not bulky.
  6. A tie with a dress shirt (shirt with collar).
  7. Hose should be worn at all times.
  • Female Dress - Do's:
  1. Hose should be worn at all times.
  2. Comfortable dress shoes.
  3. Open toed shoes allowed if dressy in style (leather or fabric).
  4. “Mule” type backless shoes only if dressy in style.
  5. Banquet â€" Formal or cocktail dress or business attire.
  6. Wearing hose is not required.
  7. (Raincoats, overcoats, and casual jackets may be worn outside but must be removed immediately when entering a building)

  • Fabric tips:
  1. Stay away from velvet, vinyl, spandex, shiny, furry, slinky materials. Fabrics recommended are those that do not wrinkle easily
  2. Purchase fabrics that have a small percentage of lycra that adds comfort and resists creases. Suggested fabrics are polyester, wool (suits), cotton shirts
  3. When purchasing a suit, twist the fabric of the sleeves and hold it in place for 10 seconds, if it wrinkles then think twice about the purchase.
  4. Piercings and tattoos:
  5. Tattoos shouldn't be visible during the business day. In more conservative business settings remove your piercing ornaments during the day.
  6. Accessories for Ladies:
  7. Scarves: should be made of wool, cashmere, silk or a blend of these fabrics. Some part of the scarf should match at least some colour in your outfit.
  8. Handbag: Dark leather is a perfect choice. Avoid sparkles, jewels, spangles on handbags. Invest in a good one!
  9. Briefcase: Coordinate the colour of your handbag with the colour of your briefcase. Often it merges into one article.
  10. Belt: Should match the colour to your outfit. Should be ½ to ¾ inch thick, made of leather rather than plastic, fur or metallic.
  11. Glasses: The look should be small and stylish. Here you can show a bit of your individuality even in conservative environments without making a faux pas. Never wear tinted glasses in the office, you would look shady in it.
  12. Jewelry: Keep jewelry simple and understated.
  13. For skinny women: very delicate jewelry looks best.
  14. For big-boned women: clunky jewelry is best.
  15. Earrings: made of silver or gold, containing diamond or pearls. Match your earring's size, shape and colour to your necklace (if you are wearing one). Ensure any colour matches with your garment colour.
  16. Necklaces: silver, gold, pearls
  17. Match your necklace shape to the collar shape of your blouse or other garment
  18. A V-shaped necklace with a round collar doesn't cut it. Avoid fake pearls!
  19. Watches: analog or digital:Analog watch is better than a digital one. Your watch band should match your other jewelry and garments. Either leather (black or brown) or matte metal bands are fine.
  20. Broches and pins:Wear them only when you don't wear a necklace.
  21. Rings: should be few and simple. If possible limit rings to a wedding/engagement/anniversary ring set. Big sparklers are not appropriate at the office (unless part of engagement ring).
  22. Yours shoes: polish and shine them. Never wear dirty or scuffed shoes.
  23. Always wear socks and make sure they are high enough to cover skin when sitting down. You should be able to walk comfortably in your shoes i.e. heels should not be too high.
  24. LADIES should stay away from chunky, platform, or knee high boots e.g. NO go go boots when wearing shorter length skirts.
  25. GENTLEMEN should stay away from steel toes and other rugged shoes. NEVER wear open toe shoes!
  • Mens' - Don'ts:
  1. Jeans of any kind, tennis shoes and/or sneakers, ski type sweaters sweatshirts, hat of any kind (except in case of rain outside a building), turtleneck shirts without ties, baggy pants, pants worn way below the waste (hip level)
  2. Appropriate male dress:
  3. Suit worn with a collared shirt and tie.
  4. Dress slacks and sport coat worn with a collared shirt and tie.
  5. Dress slacks and long sleeved sweater (solid color or muted weave) worn with a collared shirt and tie.
  6. "Docker" type slacks and knitted sweater vest (with or without sleeves) worn with a collared shirt and tie.
  7. Hair for men: Make sure your hair is not too long for the company. You might be told otherwise. Shave your neck and upper chest to below your t-shirt line if necessary. Eyebrows, nostrils and ears should be free of stragglers at all times. Shave every day and before leaving the office.
  8. Ties should be, understated, coordinated with the suit and shirt and end at the top of your belt. Don't wear particularly funny ones featuring Micky Mouse, etc.
  9. Accessories for Gentlemen:Watches: Buy one with a leather or metal band.
  10. Hats: Winter hats of various degrees of arctic protection are acceptable in the elements but not in the building. Forget baseball caps
  11. Briefcase: Should be made of leather, brown or black. If you decide for a notebook computer bag consider similar quality standards as you would for a suitcase.
  12. Keep hands and fingernails scrupulously clean and well cared for. Don't bite your nails or cuticles. Keep your cuticles pushed back. Get an occasional manicure.
  13. Hair: Should be trimmed, well-combed, clean. Get rid of dandruff with a good shampoo. Try to keep your hair out of your eyes
  14. Face: Wash your face daily. Go to a dermatologist if you suffer from acne. Make up (foundation) should match your skin tone. Lipstick, mascara and light dusting of powder are enough. Heavy eye liner, eye shadow and thick rouge are only for the stage
  15. Teeth: Brush your teeth after every meal. Make sure you always have a toothbrush, toothpaste, breath mints and mouthwash at hand.

Image Credit : polytropia

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    DEEZ NUTSMon, 02 Nov 2015 18:16:50 -0000

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    aljun albarico
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    aljun albaricoWed, 15 Jul 2015 02:16:37 -0000

    this article was great help to me in doing my thesis study because the tiltle of my study is PROPER GROOMING and i found some ideas here

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    SWOT Analysis
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    SWOT AnalysisWed, 20 Jan 2010 12:16:00 -0000

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    Business plan
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    Business PlanTue, 27 Oct 2009 12:43:53 -0000

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    Oren LahavTue, 15 Jul 2008 17:08:54 -0000

    On the one hand, these tips are good and probably useful…

    On the other hand, I find some offensive. For example, I was once asked in an interview whether I grow my beard for religious purposes, and when I answered no they said that if I'm unwilling to shave it off they can't hire me because of a strict dress-code. I told them I found that highly discriminatory!

    Not hiring or firing an employee on the grounds that they look bad or can't dress right is just plain wrong, especially in cases where the employee doesn't deal with the public or with customers directly. Good employers now understand that, and dress codes are becoming much more liberal these days.

    But regardless of that, thanks for the great tips!

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    KristaTue, 15 Jul 2008 17:14:50 -0000

    This is very interesting Oren. Because I wouldn't think that a beard would have anything to do with "dress code" persay.

    And yes, you're right, dress codes are becoming more relaxed, and I think this is because workers can be just as productive in settings that are less-professional than the standard, more traditionally-run business office.

    Good tips, Karin!

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