Beyond the Home Business – Dressing For Success

While you have a home business that might see you cut off from the outside world most of the time, there will be occasions when you either have to meet colleagues or present yourself on video.

It’s at these times that striking the right note with what you where is essential and it’s with this in mind that I would like to share some tips for how men can dress for success.

First of all some ground work.

There are some foundational things about how you present yourself that we should address before we get into the details.

Always have clean and clipped nails! Long nails on a man aren’t attractive, keep them short.
Spend money on your hair. You could dress shabbily but if your hair is well styled it can make all the difference.
Clean, well heeled shoes are mandatory. Never wear beaten up trainers. If you have them at home, throw them out. Trainers are for training in, not for wearing to the shops. And also make sure that, like your nails, your shoes are always clean!
Invest in dental hygiene. Notice I said ‘Invest’? Having good teeth and clean breath can close deals and bad teeth and bad breath can break them. Simple.

Dressing for success doesn’t always mean wearing a suit. I have met men that look a billion dollars who are simply wearing baggy linens. The late and great Pavaroti springs to mind. When he met the Princess of Wales, he was wearing linen trousers and a lovely linen top with a pashmina around his neck and shoulders. And this look is fantastic for large men.

Of course we all come in different shapes and sizes and there are an infinite number of variations as to how we can best dress, but allow me to share some basic sartorial rules for dressing well and attracting followers for your business.

Formal wear: Tailored suits are a must. Once you buy a tailored suit you will never go back to suits of the off-the-peg variety. A tailored suit will give even an over weight man the silhouette of James Bond. So make a pact with yourself to only wear tailored suits.

Shoes: A worn heel is a big deal. When people see that your shoes are past their best it either means that you can’t afford a decent pair – in which case business must be bad, or you’re attention to detail is lacking, in which case your business might not be run very well.

Be careful. Check your shoes and make sure that they’re beyond reproach

Ties: Mickey mouse ties belong in Disneyland. My rule of thumb is ‘Plain and Bold’. Stripes are a no no. Floral is confusing. Just choose plain bold colours. Red is a great tie color because it means action. Polka dots are also very nice and look both formal and friendly.

Belts: OK here’s the law. Your belt should be real leather and the same color as your shoes.

Shirts: I don’t know why there are formal shirts in colours other than white. You may fancy a change and perhaps buy a canary yellow shirt. But remember you’re in business. Forget about variation in this area. White always wins. Hands down.

Casual wear.

A fatal mistake of many aspiring millionaires is that while they dress well at the office, their casual wear is inappropriate.

The best way to dress whether casual or formally is to ask yourself, would a millionaire dress like this? If we dress today how we want to look tomorrow we are positioning ourselves to attract the thing we want. A bit like a dress rehearsal for success.

So ripped jeans, busted up trainers and T-shirts with juvenile prints on them have to go.

Remember that, even while you’re out at the grocers, you’re being watched by people. And one of those people could be your key to millions. So dress carefully when away from the office.

My clothing of choice when not dressed formally looks something like this.

White Shirt

Plain V-neck jumper

Dark Velvet Blazer

Slim jeans

Brown leather shoes.

Wearing clothes like this means that you need never be ashamed to meet a key prospect while out for a stroll.

The social nature of the internet means that, more than ever, the public are connecting with who we are. So we need to ensure that when they get to meet us, our appearance lives up to expectation.

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Business Casual – 5 Tips for Professional and Casual Business Dress

Are you confused about what business casual dress really means?

It’s a merging of the formal, tailored, dark & neutral colors of business wear, with the relaxed, loose, comfortable look of casual wear. It’s not weekend wear, or sportswear. It’s somewhere in between. It combines the professionalism of business dress with the comfort of casual dress, to create a smart, polished office look that’s a step below business formal.

Here are 5 tips for looking stylish in business casual attire.

1. Dress for your industry and for your company. If you are meeting clients, in most companies it’s a good idea to have a jacket handy. A jacket instantly upgrades your look, and presents a polished, professional appearance.

2. Choose your accessories carefully. You many be wearing a sweater and pants, but make sure your shoes are shined and stylish. Carry a good quality leather briefcase or handbag. Invest in a sharp-looking watch with a leather or metal band. Wear a leather belt to tie your look together.

3. Coordinate colors. Yes, you are wearing a more casual look, so you don’t need to dress in charcoal grey or navy. However, consider that these neutral colors are a great basis for a capsule wardrobe. When you begin with 2 or 3 pairs of pants in black, navy or grey, you can add any color shirt or sweater and still look business-like. When you top it off with a jacket, you look ready for any business event.

4. Check your grooming. Make sure your hair is clean and has a style that suits you. Check that your fingernails are filed, with no jagged edges. Check for stale breath and 5-o’clock shadows. Sometimes we don’t realize that we look less than fresh at the end of the day, when we may be heading out to see clients.

5. Give yourself a once-over in the mirror before you step outside. Look for loose threads, missing buttons, and scuffed heels. All of these details play an even bigger part of the picture when you wear business casual attire.

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Business Dress for Entrepreneurs

The subject of business dress has changed a great deal since the turn of the 21st century. Up until that time, suits for men and women were expected in all but the dirtiest of jobs. Even then, it was not uncommon to find mechanics wearing ties. Now, dressing up seems to be confined to upmarket shops and city offices, whereas dressing down for Fridays seems to have extended to the rest of the week. What should entrepreneurs wear while at work?

Business dress as we know it probably came from the style of clothing that artisans, farmers, and merchants wore prior to the rise of the white-collar worker. Hundreds of years ago, you could guess someone’s profession by noticing what they wore: Falconers had leather padding on one forearm, and blacksmiths wore leather aprons; seaman had flared trousers, and court jesters could be seen in colorful costumes that were so silly that no one else would want to wear them.

At first, the man (or the woman) made the clothes, but gradually the clothes made man or woman. Then the dress of the day was largely for functional reasons. Leather on the forearm of falconers protected them from the claws of the bird of prey that perched on their arms. The leather aprons worn by blacksmiths kept their clothes from catching fire from the hot sparks as they were pounded off of the glowing metal. And the flared trousers were so made so that men who fell overboard could get them off more quickly.

Today, those in certain professions are expected to present a particular appearance. Suits, for example, have no functional purpose, as did the professional clothing in past centuries. In fact, suits can be very uncomfortable to wear; but they continue to be worn because that is what is considerable de rigeur for the job.

There also was a time, not long ago, when business people were expected to dress “above” the level of the customer. The intent was to provide some authority for what that person did. Suits evoked the highest authority.

Quite recently, the attitude has changed, and I think for at least three reasons.

1. Business people realized that they needed to be able to communicate with customers on all levels. If the customer wasn’t dressed up, then it looked as though the entrepreneur was attempting to be superior in some way. People tend not to buy when they’re made to feel inferior.

2. Telecommuting has meant that there was no need to “dress” for work. You could wear whatever you wanted to.

3. Generation Y (born 1980-… ) not only wanted to work where, when, and with whom they wanted, but also in the clothes they wanted. Dressing up was considered to be part of the jumped-up hierarchy that wasted, rather than saved, resources.

Today, entrepreneurs have to decide on a case by case basis what dress for them will be the most appropriate. There are no hard and fast rules. Some of the most successful people seem to wear the scruffiest clothes possible. The clothing runway has even made a fashion out of selling “pre-worn-out” apparel.

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International Business Dress Code Survey Reveals Startling Result

According to the recent Ipsos/Reuters survey conducted in 24 countries around the world, there is considerable disagreement about business dress codes. That’s not to say workplace attire is an international hot potato with daily conference calls between Brussels and Singapore thrashing out the pros and cons of polo shirts. But, the very fact that Ispos, one of the world’s leading market research firms, organized this survey speaks volumes about the magnitude of dress code issues.

I’m not surprised. I deal with matters related to business-appropriate apparel on a daily basis. Perhaps more to the point is that this took so long to surface. Some of the survey results were startling, to put it mildly, but I’ll get to them later. The report, officially entitled “Ipsos Global @dvisory: Proper Attire in the Workplace,” explores what people around the world are wearing to work and rates the acceptance level, or inappropriateness, of specific garments. As I scanned the various polls that comprise the survey, it occurred to me that at its absolute core, Casual Friday could be the demon behind the current confusion, in Canada and in the United States.

Europeans, I have always believed, are upstanding, solid citizens in matters related to collars and ties. They wrote the book when it comes to professional demeanor. Same goes for South America and Asia. On the other hand, we know back in the 80′s, Silicone Valley’s dotcom lifestyle created a khaki-culture workplace, ultimately resulting in North America’s widespread observance of Casual Friday. But who knew the rest of the world shared a taste for laid-back clothing? It seems to me that the very existence of this study points to an easing up of dress codes – everywhere!

We can’t, however, place all the blame on those early dotcomers. Around here, summertime seems to be the real culprit when it comes to ultra-casual clothing. I’m not so certain that the seasonal infractions routinely filling my inbox are confined to Fridays. For example, décolleté, despite often Arctic-like A/C, probably tops the list of women’s offences. Yet without a doubt, the most widespread complaints during hot weather months – for both men and women – are shorts and flip-flops. These beach buddies are the real burning issues.

Imagine my surprise when they both showed up on the Ipsos report. This is exactly what I mean about a universal dress code direction verging on non-existent. I’m not suggesting, on any level, that the poll results conclusively support abandoning traditional business apparel. I’m simply reading between the lines and pointing out that the very appearance of shorts and flip-flops on a business-attire survey tells the real story. Everyone everywhere wants to relax. Or do they?

Let’s get down to the report’s nitty-gritty. When it comes to interpretation, the shorts data presents a particularly interesting challenge. It makes sense that almost half the Australians polled judged shorts in the workplace appropriate. After all, it’s hot Down Under. But Indonesia, only a hop, skip and a short plane ride away from Oz, is even hotter and yet only 5% of this survey group approved of shorts. Let’s explore the stats a little further. It’s coolish up in the land of fjords and midnight sun but the Swedes showed the same level of approval for shorts, as the Aussies. Hungary was the real surprise as the world’s greatest supporter of short pants at work!

I can’t say with any certainty that the citizens of Budapest represented the 46% short-support-group, but I can hazard a guess that it was these same folks who gave flip-flops wide approval. Over 50% of Hungarians polled endorsed flip-flops for business. And once again, Indonesia trailed at the bottom of the pack. You won’t find either shorts or flip-flops in the boardrooms of the archipelago.

Here at home, Canadians and Americans, although polled separately, were in general agreement with about 30% in favour of shorts but fewer than 20% for flip-flops. (As a sidebar to this footwear phenomenon, I guess the old “socks with sandals” faux pas no longer poses a threat.) Ultimately, when the results from all 24 countries were tallied, both the flip-flops and shorts categories received an almost 25% approval rating.

But here comes a curveball. When these very same people – all employed adults – were asked if their most casually dressed co-workers qualified for promotion to senior management, almost 40% ticked the “No” box. It’s as though they’re saying; “Sure, go ahead. Wear whatever you want but don’t expect to move up the ladder!”

A spin-off of this is the fact that two-thirds of the over 12,000 people participating in the survey agreed that: “Senior Managers/People That Run An Organization Should Always be More Dressed Up Than Their Employees.” Clearly, this points to an expectation that both aspiring and existing leaders have a responsibility to maintain high standards when it comes to personal appearance.

Here comes another curve ball. The majority of participants approved “Bikinis/Speedos” for work-sponsored beach outings. Once again, it was the Hungarians by a mile, with almost 90% in favour of scanty beach wear. Not surprisingly, Argentina trailed closely behind but those surfing Aussies weighed in at only 60%. Here, on the home front, a comparative sense of modesty rules. Only about a third of the Canadians approved this minimalist approach.

Ultimately, what intrigued me was the diversity and magnitude of the report. I know we’ve come a hundred miles from the dark days when Casual Friday was in its infancy and some folks confused “dressing down” with sloppy carelessness. There’s no question that business casual is constantly evolving but I for one, am greatly relieved to feel a touch of fall in the air. All those troublesome shorts and flip-flops will soon be tucked away.

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Basic Principles of a Modern Business Dress Code

A lot of business companies today have unspoken rules of a corporate dress code; some of them even have the written ones. The importance of business attire and its influence on the customers has been recognized by most of the world. The right clothing of the personnel symbolizes professionalism and loyalty for the clients.

American business clothes designer Adriana Coley says that the appearance of the staff can tell more about the company than they can tell themselves.

A dress code for the employee connotes a sense of unity and a sign of belonging to the particular group. Moreover, clothes speak for its owner: the way an employee or a businessman is dressed can tell a lot about him as a person. Usually people make a first perception about your professionalism, intelligence and credibility by looking at your dress. You may have not uttered a word yet but your partners and colleagues have already made their judgments. Often, your look at work influences not only the perceptions, but also the job promotions.

That is why being well-dressed is so important and we are going to tell about the general principles of the modern business dress code in this article.

According to some job-search websites, a person dressed in business casual style should look “pulled together,neat and professional”. What does it mean?

There is a list of standard requirements in terms of dressing and grooming successful businessmen usually keep up to. First of all, you need to think of your audience and the company’s corporate culture when you choose your dress.

Secondly, always wear clothes that perfectly fit you, forget about tight pants or narrow skirts – they are uncomfortable since they restrict your movements.

Clothes should be well-pressed and have no wrinkles.

Formal jackets must be buttoned.

As for the perfume – a fragrance has to be mild, both for women and men.

It is absolutely prohibited to wear shorts, snickers and slippers almost in every organization. Transparent clothes, deep necklines and short skirts for ladies are not appropriate in business. We do not advice to wear too tight or bright clothes as well.

Women are allowed to wear classic pant or skirt suites (remember to check the skirt’s length – it should not be too short, better when covering the knees).

Usually women are obliged to wear hose or tights of skin color in the office. Shoes should be on heels (but not too high). Black and dark colors are preferable.

Your hair must be always under control;natural colors and simple haircuts are classic business approach. Manicure and make-up ought to look calm and modest.Middle length-nails with French-style manicure would be the best option.

Women dress-code is quite strict towards the jewelry. You have to be careful about its size and brightness: colorful bijouterie or big pieces are way too much. Earrings and necklaces should not make noise when you move; minimalism is the core principle of wearing jewelry and the whole business dress code.

As for the model blouses and skirts, the sleeves are supposed to be long. In summer you can wear short variant, but the shoulders are better to be covered up.

Jeans are not on the “white list”in most of the serious corporations. Though some modern companies allow their employees wearing smart casual clothes on Fridays, the best alternative for both sexes is still a classic suit.

If you are working in a business environment, the color of your clothes is assumed to be quiet and restful. Classic black or elegant dark blue can be combined with various tints of gray, beige and brown. But there should be not more than 3 different colors and 2 types of pattern in your dress.

You are allowed to diverse your attire with some stylish accessories.

Finally, let us take a closer look at the men’s dress code.

Conservative business style includes traditional dress shirt, preferably white, lace-up shoes, preferably black, classic jacket and a suitable tie of restricted color that reaches the middle of a belt buckle. Classic but chic watch would not be superfluous. Over-the-calf socks should fit the color of suit or shoes.

Some of the most common and appropriate combinations for men can be:

Polo shirt with chinos pants, casual belt and leather shoes;
A classic long-sleeved shirt with cotton trousers, suitable belt and loafers;
V-neck sweater with a round-neck undershirt, straight-leg jeans and lace-up leather boots.

Knowing the basic dress code rules accepted in the business sector is not only the attribute of style, but a sign of your sophistication and an exquisite taste.

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