Finding the right outfit for any occasion is always a difficult task.
Is wearing your little black dress the right move for a first date, or should you go for a more casual option and wear jeans and a tee-shirt?
But if dressing for your dating life is hard, then dressing for your professional life can be even more difficult.
The good news?
It doesn't have to be.
In this article, we'll make sure that you know how to dress professionally.
By the end, you'll know how to create a work wardrobe that strikes the perfect balance between personable and professional.
How to Dress Professionally: For Men
For men, knowing what to wear to a board meeting can be a serious challenge.
You don't want to look under-dressed, but you also don't want to come across as desperate.
So, what's the perfect middle ground?
For many men these days, it's a combination of a blazer and tie with a pair of casual khaki slacks, corduroy pants, or even dark-wash denim.
Remember that, especially if you're involved in the startup or entrepreneurial worlds, wearing a full three-piece suit may not be the best fit.
On the other hand, if you're working for a traditional law firm, taking fashion risks may make clients and even juries take you less seriously.
Above all, study what other people are wearing in your industry, and attempt to emulate that.
You can also elevate a more classic look by choosing a more contemporary pair of glasses to wear with it. Go for things like a tortoiseshell frame, a matte finish, or even wire-rimmed spectacles for a trendy look that won't compromise your professionalism.
Make sure that you always visit a tailor.
No matter what you decide to end up wearing, having pieces that fit you will ensure that you look like a million bucks -- and feel incredibly confident.
What to Wear to a Business Meeting: For Women
Let's get one thing out of the way first: women are certainly held to a different, higher standard than men when it comes to knowing how to dress professionally.
While that's certainly unfair, the good news is that there are now more options than ever for work-friendly wardrobes for women. Gone are the days of the pastel pantsuit as the only option.
You can't go wrong with a black pencil skirt and a classic white button-down. If the meeting is casual, you may be able to get away with a dark pair of jeans -- as long as you wear a dress shirt and blazer on top.
It goes without saying that you should avoid pieces that are especially tight, low-cut, or too short. You want people to focus on what you're saying and the points you're making.
Make sure you're using the right tactics to make the sale.
And when it comes to the shoes on your feet?
While sneakers in the workplace are becoming more and more acceptable, they may not get you off on the right foot -- no pun intended -- in a professional setting.
If you're meeting clients for the first time, we suggest a pair of black pumps or comfortable flats (especially if you'll be standing and giving a presentation).
The height of the heels will give you an extra boost of confidence, and the comfort of the flats will allow you to move with freedom.
Try a Power Accessory
Once you've decided on what to wear to a meeting, you also need to ensure you know how to properly accessorize your outfit.
After all, the right watch or handbag is often a symbol of both monetary and professional success. You want to project that, but you also don't want to come across as ostentatious or tacky.
It's best to avoid overly-branded or overtly flashy accessories.
For example, a Mont Blanc pen or a bag with a single pair of interlocking C's of G's is much more professional than a diamond-encrusted watch or a bag that's covered in nothing but logos.
Keep color choices for accessories classic -- think black, white, brown, beige, gold, or silver. Not only will these colors go with everything in your closet, but they'll also never go out of style.
For women, it's best to avoid jewelry that's overly chunky and distracting. Instead, things like a simple pearl necklace and a pair of studded earrings are a better fit.
And for men?
Put down the cologne and hair gel.
While basic grooming is always appreciated, you don't want your scent to be overpowering, or worse, to cause your client to have an allergic reaction!
Instead, elevate your look with a brightly-colored tie. This shows personality but won't overwhelm the rest of your outfit.
Discover more about how to properly pair a shirt and tie on the LS Men's Clothing website.
How to Dress Professionally: What's Next?
From knowing exactly to find the perfect staple work wardrobe pieces to understanding the right tie for your favorite dress shirt, we hope that this post has helped you to learn how to dress professionally.
Remember that, no matter your age or gender, the adage, "Dress for the job you want" is always good advice. Also, make sure that your style is consistent with the way others in your industry present themselves.
Above all, don't be afraid to let your own personality shine through.
Now that you know how to dress for a business meeting, let's find a way to get you the job interview of your dreams.
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