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Dress Like a Pro: Business Attire for Men
At AGH, we believe that dressing professionally always gives the right impression to our current and prospective clients: that we are confident, capable and trustworthy advisors and service providers. Don’t worry; it won’t take long to get a professional wardrobe together, and this article should make the process easier.
This is what really ties the whole suit together, so it’s important that the color pairs well with the rest of your attire. You can play it safe at first by sticking to neutral colors and then switching it up once you’re more confident in your color-coordination skills. The long end of the tie should touch your belt buckle.
Tying a necktie can be tricky at first, but after a few knots, it becomes second nature. Here is a video from The Art of Manliness if you need help getting started.
Wear a dress shirt with a collar; a polo shirt is not business professional.
It’s very important to get measured before you purchase a dress shirt because every man has his own unique fit. Even if the shirt has your exact measurements, try it on before you buy it; some brands are more reliable than others when it comes to measurements. Make sure to check whether the shirt has French cuffs or not. If it does, you’ll need cuff links to go with it.
Choose dress pants, not chinos or khakis -- there is a very noticeable difference in both material and appearance. You’re probably already familiar with your pants measurements, but you should still try them on before you buy. At the waist, they should touch your upper hip bones. The break (where the pants touch your shoes) shouldn’t be too long or too short; there shouldn’t be any sock showing when you stand up but they also shouldn’t go clear to the floor. The legs should have a straight fit. Choose neutral colors (gray, black, navy blue), and then use your shirt and tie to add color to your outfit.
Stick with a smaller, flat belt buckle for professional dress; rounded buckles are typically more casual. When looking at measurements, aim for a couple sizes larger than your waist; you want the hook to fit in the second or third notch in the belt. The color should match your shoes.
There are three main types of jackets: the suit jacket, the blazer, and the sport coat. While some would say otherwise, they are very similar; the only major difference is that a suit jacket is made with a matching pair of trousers. However, you can still interchange jackets if they look good with your slacks. Notch lapels and single-breasted jackets tend to be more appropriate for the workplace; anything else can start to look too formal.
Additional tip: Most businessmen never button the bottom button of their jackets, and they usually unbutton their jackets when they sit down.
There are a lot of options when it comes to picking dress shoes, including the Oxford, Derby, monk strap, and loafer. Any style is fine; just make sure they are leather and well-polished. Again, the color should match your belt.
Suiting up is important. It shows that you care about your work and are willing to go the extra mile to look professional. If you shop smart, you should be able to find great pieces without breaking the bank. Stick to the guidelines above, and you’ll have a wardrobe as strong as your work ethic.
Dress Like a Pro: Business Attire for Women
At AGH, we believe that dressing professionally always gives the right impression to our current and prospective clients: that we are confident, capable and trustworthy advisors and service providers. Don’t worry; it won’t take long to get a professional wardrobe together, and this article should help make the process easier.
Tops and Dresses
There are a number of options to choose from when deciding on a top, including a traditional buttoned shirt, a blouse, or a sweater as mentioned below. Most outfits look more finished with a jacket, blazer, or sweater. A dress is appropriate as well, but benefits from the addition of a jacket or blazer. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s not wrinkled or too revealing. Anything low-cut, lacy, very sheer or with cut-outs is not an appropriate work option; you want to dress professional, not sexy. Try your top on before you buy it to ensure a proper fit.
Pants or Skirt
If you choose not to wear a dress, you can wear one of the tops described above with a skirt or a pair of dress pants. If you choose to wear a skirt or dress, it should be no shorter than two inches above your knees. If you wear pants, the bottom hem should touch your shoes but not the floor. It’s important to note that most women’s dress pants are cut longer for wearing with heels, so you may need to have them shortened if you plan to wear flats. Skirts and pants in neutral colors are always a classy choice, but color and patterns are also OK as long as they look professional.
Capris, cropped pants and leggings should not be worn.
You can wear a blazer, a suit jacket, or a nice sweater. The sleeves can be cropped or full length. Avoid wearing shirts that stick out below your jacket or sweater. The color of your jacket should coordinate with your skirt, pants, or dress.
If you choose to wear heels, make sure they aren’t so tall that you feel off-balance while walking in them. A closed-toed pump is always classic looking, but AGH does allow open-toed shoes for women. Dressy flats are also a great choice.
Keep your shoes in good condition and polished if necessary. Coordinate the color with your outfit, and avoid colors, prints and styles that attract too much attention. Avoid ballet flats, and never wear sneakers or flip-flops.
Makeup and Accessories
The most important thing to note with your accessories is that they shouldn’t draw too much attention. – YOU should be the center of attention, not your clothes. Your outfit is supposed to build your credibility, not distract from it.
- Makeup: Keep it daytime-appropriate and neutral, not going-out-at-night make-up.
- Perfume: Think subtle; the smell shouldn’t linger when you walk out of a room.
- Jewelry: Avoid dangling jewelry that can be noisy and distracting.
- Nails: Keep them in check with fresh polish and a moderate or short length.
- Belt: Belts are optional. If you decide to wear one, keep it simple.
Dressing professionally is important. It shows that you care about your work and are willing to go the extra mile. If you shop smart, you should be able to find some great pieces without breaking the bank. Stick to the guidelines above, and you’ll have a wardrobe as strong as your work ethic.