Many companies have a dress code – either written or unwritten, and many have a policy that if you’re dressed below the standard of that dress-code you’ll be sent home to change into something more appropriate – but how often does that happen? I’ve never seen it happened, but what does happen, is that the offending person will get a black mark against their name that will remain there and will be considered next time promotions or pay-rises are in the offing. The more times the rules are broken, the more black marks.
How do you ensure that you’re not going to be disadvantaged by the way you look at work? And what applies to you is dependent on your work environment and it’s specific dress code, but consider the following:
Going to a pay-negotiation meeting would you wear:
- Sandals (especially as a man)
- Shirts with advertising slogans or logos (that aren’t for the company you work for)
- Shirts with messages of any sort or offensive pictures
- Jeans (ripped jeans if jeans are acceptable in your dress code)
- Scuffed shoes
- See-through fabrics
- Grubby t-shirts
Women – do you really think you can be taken seriously wearing:
- A shirt that shows your midriff
- Too much cleavage
- Fishnet tights
- Visible lingerie (bra straps etc)
- Glittery makeup
- Laddered stockings
- Ultra long fingernails
Men – how are these things hurting your back pocket?
- Cartoon or bawdy ties
- Messy facial hair – especially nose and ear hair or great big untrimmed beards
- Too short trousers – we don’t want to see your socks, and if you’re sitting down, we should never be able to see any bare skin
- Your belly poking through the buttons of your about to pop shirt
- Comb-over – we can tell you’re losing your hair – it just makes you look older than you are and ready for the scrap-heap not a boardroom seat – crop it short.
- Shiny suits from another era
And onto grooming – when you’re buying a house or second-hand car – doesn’t it’s cleanliness really influence if you’ll buy it and for how much? Poor grooming can really affect how others perceive you –and how much they want to be around you, do you think it’ll help your promotion chances where you’ll be put in a position to deal with clients or regularly have to sit next to your boss in meetings with poor hygiene habits?
Top Ten Grooming Tips
1. Cleanliness – a shower every 24 hours, and shampooed hair at least every 3 days
2. Fresh breath – halitosis is no one’s friend – if you have a problem, get it checked by a dentist. Not sure – do people keep backing away from you when you’re talking to them – well you probably have a problem.
3. Body odour – wear anti-perspirant every day and avoid perspiration marks – if you’re a man who regularly perspires very heavily, consider taking an extra shirt to work to change into half-time.
4. Understated scent – a little perfume or aftershave are usually considered a good thing, but if your scent enters or leaves a room before or after you, if others can tell you’ve walked down the corridor a few minutes ago, then you’re wearing too much. Your nose will get used to the scent you apply pretty quickly, but others will continue to smell it all day. Don’t reapply more than once every 8 hours. And be careful of the scent you choose – I once had the misfortune of working with a man who smelled like a toilet deodoriser.
5. Groomed nails – clean your nails with a nail brush daily, and don’t bite them – ever. People unconsciously would prefer to be served by people with neat and clean nails. If you wear polish keep it chip free or don’t wear it at all.
6. Neat hair – whatever it’s length – keep it neat and tidy. Don’t look like you’ve gone to work without brushing it after getting out of bed.
7. Tattoos and Body Piercings – keep them under wraps during business hours.
8. Stained Teeth – if your teeth are badly stained you appear to be rotting from the inside out
9. Clean clothes – free from stains (keep baby wipes in your desk draw for emergency stain removal during the day), check collars and cuffs – places that get worn quickly and look dirty.
10. Dandruff – especially on dark fabric – use an anti-dandruff shampoo regularly if you’re prone to a flaky scalp, and if it doesn’t fix the situation, seek the help of a trichologist.
And remember, a pay-rise can happen at any time, as can a promotion – you never know when someone else will leave and you could be in the offing for a great new job and larger pay cheque – so keep all these points in mind, everyday, then instead of having black marks against your name, there will be a series of big ticks.
© Imogen Lamport 2010
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