The ladies of Kane Partners attending the Montgomery County Women’s Council Luncheon, which discussed the etiquette of dressing in a business professional environment.

When presenting yourself in a business professional or business causal environment sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish what is appropriate and what is not, especially for women.

One big tip to put your best foot forward, male or female is to buy clothing that fits your body. If you are confused or not sure about an item ask the opinion of a sales associate. By just purchasing clothing that fits can make an inappropriate outfit look very professional! You want to make sure your clothing is not too big (where you are lost or swimming in the shirt/top or pants) and that it is not too tight (where your clothing looks like a second layer of skin).

Neck Ties and Suits in Store

For men it is important to purchase the proper pant length, the improper length often comes across an unprofessional. It is inexpensive to have your pant legs and jackets lengthen or shortened according to your height. Also when you are in business attire the appropriate sock is a dress sock not athletic socks.

For women skirts should be just at or below your knee, anything more than 2 inches above your knee is inappropriate. Shoes should have at least 3/4 of an inch heel, no flip flops, open toed shoes are acceptable in most cases and a dress sandal usually works in the summer months. A woman’s cleavage should be managed at all times, if you choose to wear V-neck or a low cut shirt wear a shell or Cami to minimize your chest exposure. If you choose a top or dress that has spaghetti straps, strapless or a thin straps you should keep a cover-up, jacket or sweater on at all times during work hours, exposed shoulders in a business professional/casual environment is considered inappropriate.

At no time in a business professional/casual are jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, sweatshirts or sweat suits appropriate, unless it is a stated dress down day.

When attending work, attending a meeting, interview or any other business related function it is important to dress appropriately. Remember to fit the clothing to your body type, stay covered up, tailor clothing if needed, and find a good shoe to fit your attire. Accessories are always a nice addition to any outfit which can include: tie, scarf, handkerchief, jewelry, earrings, or purse. Ladies and gentleman please do not overdo the aftershave/cologne or perfume. In both these cases less can be more, you never want to take anything away from yourself.

This article is meant to be informational and offer basic advice/guidelines to a business environment. For more information on your specific company’s policy see your company handbook or Human Resources Department for the official rules and guidelines.