Top 10 Rules to Dressing Professionally
Realizing this is a giant rabbit hole, here are some absolutely basic and crucial things to understand when it comes to dressing professionally in a way that can help you move your life and career forward. Sorry ladies, I’m not qualified for you, but I will get a post for you in this area as well.
After seeing many leaders and executives fail at these 10 basic rules, here are some things to keep in mind next time you are shopping.
My top 10 list for guys:
1. Dress for the position you want, not the one you have. Poise and style go a long way towards promotion/sales/ influence. However you feel about that from a fairness standpoint, it’s reality.
2. Never wear pleats or cuffs on your slacks. Sorry, to those who disagree. People argue this with me all the time, but pleats and cuffs have been out with everything else you left in 1993. I don’t know why anybody is still selling these to unsuspecting guys.
3. Never wear a white undershirt that can be seen under a dress shirt or even a polo. Time to invest in some v-necks.
4. Your shoulder seam should be right at the top of your shoulder or at most a half inch from the top of your shoulder towards your hand. Oversized shirts make you look sloppy and unprofessional.
5. Wear fitted shirts whenever possible. A fitted shirt has been sewn to remove material from the back and sides of the shirt so that you don’t end up with a bag of extra material around your belt or midsection. Fitted shirts will slim you down and broaden your shoulders. If you have extra weight you are carrying around your midsection you may need a little more room.
6. Sleeve length should hit the bottom of your wrist when your arms are hanging at your side. This allows a nice watch to peek out and keeps extra material from bunching and making you look sloppy.
7. Your belt, watch, and shoes all need to match. Brown shoes means a brown leather watch and brown belt. Black shoes mean a silver or black watch and black belt. Make sure shoes belt and watch all match stylistically as well. In other words, if you wear a formal pair of shoes, then wear a formal belt and “dress” watch with it.
8. Never, ever, ever, never, ever wear a tie with a short sleeve dress shirt. Dwight Shrute (see above). Enough said.
9. Shine your shoes. If you didn’t learn this in the military, from a Dad or friend, go to a nice department store like Neiman Marcus and the shoe dept. can give you a tutorial. Or, click here.
10. Don’t wear cuff links with a casual pair of slacks. The general rule is if you don’t need to dry clean your slacks, don’t wear cuff links with your shirt.
10.5 The bottom of your slacks need to rest barely on the top of your shoes with no more than an inch of material in the left in the length. Again, extra material = sloppy and unprofessional.
There are many different styles of collars when it comes to dress shirts. Each one is appropriate at different times.
Never wear more than 3 colors at a time. Patterns need to be different and can be mixed and matched if done correctly. Generally a lighter, or more pastel, colored shirt should be worn with a tie that goes with it, but should not match exactly.
Best advice ever! Are you ready? If you are not the average sized guy. For example, taller than 6’4″ or shorter than 5’5″- find a great tailor near your home. If he/she tries to put you in pleats- run away and find another tailor. Always wear clothes that fit. Being tall (I’m 6’5″) is not an excuse to wear clothing that doesn’t fit.
If you are wearing a tie, your pocket cloth should match the dominant color in the tie.
Hope that helps you move toward your goals and not away from them.
Enjoy Life and Shop well!