In Small Business You Still Need To Dress To Impress.

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Even A Small Business Owner Can Give The Wrong Impression To Customers Based On What They Wear.


The styles, colors, lengths and fit of your fashion choices will speak volumes about your ability to do your job. It’s not a shallow way of thinking….it’s just the truth.

However, I should probably put this into perspective since there are such things as world hunger and global warming happening all around us. Your goal to getting dressed for work is to project a professional, competent image, regardless of your employment level or career path.

According to Rosemary Haefner Human Resources Vice President at, dressing professionally is more important in some industries than it is in others; where customer contact and image presented to the customer is critical and your attire will be judged more critically. So, for the purpose of this article, my focus will be on those industries.

Color: It Plays a Big Part
Color has such a subconscious impact it is important to have an understanding of what it says to your client. Remember brighter and lighter colors for your business clothing are uplifting to the emotions, while darker and more neutral colors are subduing and more controlling.

• Red (get noticed-assertive)
• Navy (trustworthy)
• Gray (conservative – you can let your personality shine through)
• Black (chic)
• Green (dependable)
• Magenta (shock and inspire)

Loud colors and wild prints are much riskier in the office, but some creative types can still pull them off.

Fit: Rules to live By
One size does not fit all; it’s like putting a square peg in a round hole. The latest trend doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. If you’re 5 ft tall, I would think twice about wearing a knee length sweater. It will just make you look shorter.

• Pants should be free of visible panty lines
• Straight style skirts should be loose enough to sit down in comfortably – and when you stand up, if the skirt is “stuck” at the hip, it is too small.
• Jackets should be able to be buttoned…even if you don’t intend to
• Blouses and button-up sweaters shouldn’t gap between buttonholes
• Jewelry should be complementing and not too flashy. If it’s loud, it’s distracting.

Don’t Be A Victim
Unless you want to be seen on the TLC Channel, “What Not To Wear”, I would definitely avoid these no-no’s:
• See through lace: only recommended for use in the privacy of your own home
• Shoulder pads: this is not the 80’s…and even if they make a comeback, DON’T go there!
• Extreme patterns: Leave your love for purple polka dots for weekend wear
• Obvious designer labels: they are great but there’s no need to look like a NASCAR in the workplace.

When you’re working from home, go ahead and enjoy your fuzzy slippers and grey sweats, but when you step into the business world, remember to dress as if you are a powerful and successful business woman.

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