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Want to succeed at work? How you dress matters

By Raghav Mohan Bakshi
Last updated on: May 30, 2022 15:47 IST
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If you have tattoos or body jewellery, go through your company's policy or talk to senior colleagues regarding workplace culture, says Raghav Mohan Bakshi, general manager -- corporate, RRB Energy Limited.

How to dress for work

Kindly note the image -- from the film Ki And Ka -- has been posted only for representational purposes.

In the last two years, we have seen significant changes in the way we work and how we conduct ourselves in virtual meetings, presentations and other work scenarios.

As the pandemic loosens its grip, those who have resumed going to office may have noticed that what we wear to work every day has changed to a certain extent.

While the professional trend toward more casual attire continues, the subject remains a minefield for both managers and employees.

One significant factor to consider is that millennials -- the next generation of professionals -- have different ideas about how to dress for work as compared to earlier generations. And while personal style with proper representation is in, disregard for others should never be.

Representing a positive image of oneself is critical for achieving success.

What you wear, how you speak and your body language all create an image that influence how people see you.

Developing a professional appearance might help you gain attention and serious consideration at work.

Styling is a means of presenting oneself in a distinct and unusual way. It all begins with assessing the individual to determine what kinds of outfits suit them best.

An effective style allows you to express your personality, which is crucial in today's new age world.

Tips for new age professionals

In general, most professionals should dress one level above their current job.

An entry-level employee, for example, may outfit correctly for an intermediate-level role.

Middle managers may dress more casually than department heads or directors.

1. Think beyond your clothing

Professional styling entails more than what you wear.

You should be tidy, clean and well-groomed.

Consider your hairstyle and accessories to ensure they are appropriate for your workplace.

You can observe others in your office; watch how they dress and strive to match their level of formality.

You should also think about the following aspects of your appearance:

  • Nails: Keep them clipped and tidy.
  • Make-up: Use neutral make-up in business environments.
  • Perfume: Choose mild fragrances or refrain from using perfume or cologne.
  • Shoes: Ensure they are clean and, if necessary, shined.

2. Display your uniqueness

Clothing may be used to express a person's personality.

Colours, patterns and accessories can help you stand out even in a business setting. This is especially pertinent in creative fields.

3. Corporate culture

If you have tattoos or body jewellery, go through your company's policy or talk to senior colleagues regarding the workplace culture.

You may need to wear clothing that will hide your tattoos or you may need to remove your jewellery. Since you work there, these adjustments demonstrate your regard for people and your willingness to fit into the company's culture.

4. Casual days

Many businesses offer 'casual Fridays' or other occasions such as official outings and special days when employees can opt not to dress in regular professional wear.

Since you want to project confidence and professionalism on these days as well, make the right choices. Your attire should remain clean, tidy, well-fitting and modest.

5. Styling comfortably

Style your clothes in a manner that feels comfy and easy to move in, so you don't get sidetracked. For instance, if you must stand for much of the day, choose comfortable, supportive shoes.

Make sure your clothing is clean, neat and ironed, regardless of the dress code or lack thereof.

Keep your appearance professional by not exposing too much flesh.

6. Style organisation

You can avoid a lot of stress if you are organised with your styling -- not in an obsessive way but in a manner that speeds up your preparation.

Searching for misplaced clothing, hurried ironing and changing from one attire to another in the morning consumes time that can be spent on more productive activities.

Appearing effortlessly put together also creates a professional image and builds faith in your ability to manage issues.

Being on time and respecting other people's time demonstrates that you are at the top of your game.

While most new age professions have embraced casual styling, a few businesses still adhere to a formal dress code.

While employees are not required to wear professional suits, they must dress in formal or casual attire that fits their profile at the workplace. The ability to wear casuals for a new age job is a positive policy, as long as the proper stylistic rules are in place.

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Raghav Mohan Bakshi