How To Dress Within Your Industry Norms
March 25th, 2009
Dressing appropriately in today’s workplace is essential. Your clothes are the first impression you make whether on a job interview, representing your firm to a new client, or making a presentation within your company. But today the simple act of dressing can be confusing. Mistakes can be costly not only to you budget, but to your career.
The guidelines which you are about to read tend to be consistent within each profession. Key is to Dress conservatively while interviewing, and, once you get the job, be alert. Each office has a distinct culture and fashion slang with it.
Whether the job is dean of students or tenured professor, the academic dress code is the same: Business casual. That means tailored, presentable pieces that are authoritative but still approachable. Geography and, at time, the nature of the school will determine the exact interpretation. A Columbia biology professor situated in uptown New York City is likely to dress differently from her counterpart at the New Hampshire-based Dartmouth. There is the same slogan: "I dress to inspire confidence, to let people know I'm a professional who hasn't just come on the scene."
A consultant should dress to establish herself as a figure of authority with the company for whom she's consulting. Generally, this means a custom tailored suit. Dressing professionally can serve another key purpose for those giving advice. It helps ensure they'll look worthy of the money the company is shelling out for the outside expertise.
A retail salesperson's appearance should represent the merchandise she is selling and the caliber of her clientele. Someone selling khakis a cotton twill trouser will dress differently from her counterpart in designer sportswear.
Service positions-hotel managers, restaurants workers-often require a uniform. Otherwise, the rule of thumb is to wear crisp, well-ironed, and presentable clothes that fall into the business casual or business appropriate range, depending on the position.
Like many creative media, the dress code in advertising tends to be corporate creative.
For entry-level positions, that means whatever is in fashion at the moment-low-rider pants or ladylike dresses.
Mid level employees take liberties within a corporate casual to business appropriate range; you see the look: a lot of leather and a purple suede shirt worn with three or four long gold necklaces.
Senior executives dress with similar diversity, in everything from designer suit to devil-may-care denim.
Clearly, the more conservative the firm or a particular client -the more conservative the dress
While skirt suits, stockings, and high heels were once the norm, investment banking and its financial counterparts have slightly loosened their dress demands in recent years. A pantsuit is fine. Investment bankers and financiers like to present an image of power and also monetary success to their clients, and so a business appropriate look is the key. In New York suits or a look approximating it is common. But location is everything.
In San Francisco; where slacks, a jacket and a sweater or a blouse is common. Nobody seems to be wearing hose or heels. You do see business skirts. If someone has a meeting, the look will be more suit like. But in general people wear a more casual look.
Some of the policies describe the medical dress code as ‘tasteful and professional’. What it means is no low-end; yes they give an actual number measurement for their dress. They have to wear a white coat at all times. Underneath it are suits or pants or a dress, all tailored to fit perfectly and well ironed.
While law and banking are considered the last bastions of truly formal business attire, even their staunch guidelines have softened in recent years. In metropolitan regions, a suit is commonplace, and closed-toe shoes and stocking legs are required. These and other particulars -including skirt length, Friday dress, and court room attire are governed by the mandates of each individual firm. If you're too polished, people could perceive you as pandering or condescending. That doesn't advance the ball.
Jobs in the media-television and film production, magazine publishing-generally inspires a creative take on business attire. Translation; Suits with an edge. Associate appropriate attire, down wear business appropriate attire, often with a hip twist.
Editors and assistants tend to follow suit. The magazine dress code tends to be business attire, often with a streak of high style.
It's rare for high style to wander into the hallowed halls of book editors, where the common dress is business casual to business appropriate. The marketing side of book publishing thrives on timeliness and trends, and stylish, business appropriate attire is a common uniform
Clothes that enable your clients to relate to you, “The leather pants, a denim blazer, look like them so they can connect with you.” But as they say, location is everything. In contrast, a real estate agent working in a suburb of Chicago might wear a colorful suit, gold jewelry, and conservative heels.
You have to satisfy those expectations down to the clothes, which mean suits with a dash of fashion. For those in non-executive PR positions, No matter what level the employee, however, one rule always applies: The nature of the client can sway the dress code. "If you're with a very corporate client, you have to know enough to streamline your look and be a little bit more conservative.”
The dress code in architecture is similar to that in advertising. No jeans, no sneakers, no T-shirts. Casual but neat, and more often than not, creative!! But when you go to any kind of client meeting, the dress is business attire. Translation: Suits. As with any industry, larger, more formal firms can often have more conservative dress codes.
You are in a position of giving advice, and you get more respect when you dress appropriately. Generally, those in executive accounting positions tend to dress in corporate attire. But for all other accounting titles-book keepers, semi senior accounting firms may be corporate casual while larger firms to dress professionally, aka business appropriate.
The internet has evolved into just another medium, and the dress code is media dress. The styles are slightly edgier, there is more individuality. While anything-goes are still the rule at dot-coms, slacker khakis have begun to be traded in for cutting-edge fashion and the latest techno looks. You see heels, but they're not conservative, pumps- it's a thicker heel, an interesting toe.
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