Have you ever arrived somewhere and realized you were wildly underdressed, overdressed, or attired in entirely the wrong type of clothing for the situation? I think it has happened to almost everyone at some point in time. It can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and unprofessional.
It would be easier if we could just say exactly what to wear to your executive assistant job, but we don’t exactly have that luxury. Each industry and, even, company is different in their dress standards and knowing what to wear can be nerve wracking. We’ve compiled our top 3 tips to help minimize your work wardrobe stress.
1. Know your industry and research the company.
Because each industry and company is different in what they consider appropriate, it is a good idea to do some solid research beforehand on the company culture and industry culture. If you know someone at the company, try to get a feel from them regarding culture and dress code. During your interview, or even when coordinating your first day with the HR department or your manager, don’t be afraid to ask about the dress code. They will be happy to let you know.
When going for a job interview, there are a few standards you can lean on.
• Men: It’s safe to wear nice dress pants and a button down shirt. You don’t necessarily need to wear a tie, but it won’t hurt if you do. It’s always better to overdress for an interview than underdress.
• Women: It’s safe to wear a nice pair of dress pants/slacks and a button down shirt or blouse as well.
2. Think about outfit appropriateness.
Ladies, work is not the place to wear low-cut shirts and miniskirts. If your company requires business attire, invest in some knee length or close to knee length skirts (or just wear dress pants), and use the lean-over test to check the low-cut nature of your shirts. If you can see everything when you bend over in the mirror, you should probably reserve that shirt for outside of work. Leggings are a big thing right now, but definitely check with your company’s dress code to see if they are appropriate. I’ve heard rumblings from many different industries on that topic. Overall, making sure your attire is clean, neat, and comfortable goes a long way to improving your confidence at work.
Men, try to keep your appearance neat and tidy as well. If you have a beard or mustache, keep it clean and groomed. Make sure you clothes are clean and relatively wrinkle free. You don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed and decided to come to work. Even if your company allows you to wear t-shirts and jeans, make sure that your t-shirts don’t have anything offensive on them and don’t look like they’ve been balled up in the bottom of a drawer. Make sure your pants fit properly and you aren’t showing the office your undergarments.
Wearing perfume or cologne is a hot button issue at a lot of offices. It is excellent that you want to smell good (people will be so happy that you are hygienic), but it’s important to be sensitive to your coworkers that may have allergies or a sensitive nose. Here’s my big hint: subtlety is classy. If you wear one small spray of perfume or cologne, that’s usually fine. If you put on so much that the entire building smells like you when you walk in, you’ve gone too wild. Your coworkers shouldn’t be able to smell you coming from a mile away. Keep it subtle, and everyone will love you for it.
3. Test drive your outfits.
Once you know what the dress code is, put some outfits together and try them out before you wear them to work. Can you move about in a comfortable manner? Do they look tidy? Do they become more uncomfortable as the day wears on? Make sure you are comfortable sitting and walking. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and don’t give you blisters. Make sure your clothing doesn’t have any offensive slogans or pictures on it.
When your dress standards match your company’s culture and code, your confidence will increase, as will your comfort level and professionalism. There are a lot more ideas out there on the internet, so don’t be afraid to do a Google or Pinterest search for additional tips on dressing for work.