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Professional image is more than just a formal dress, a suit and a tie!

Your image do start with choosing the right outfit for the right work environment, but it doesn't stop there. Depending on the industry you are working at, your role and the environment, you should select your outfit, style and colours. And while most working environments are more flexible and relaxed these days, there are still a lot of firms that require professional dress code.

Business Professional

If you chose a career in finance, accounting, and auditing, you are to expect that your office adopts the business professional dress code. The most conservative dress code

For men:

  • Put on your best 3-piece suit

  • Opt for a uniform suit color → aim for black, gray, or navy blue

  • Choose the same color socks and leather shoes

  • Minimize the design of your dress shirt → go with stripes at the most.

  • Check that your tie and collar are neatly in place

For women:

  • Match your blazer with either a knee-length skirt or pair of slacks that fit comfortably

  • Pick a conservative blouse or dress shirt

  • Aim for minimal design and uniform color as well

  • Wear a comfortable pair of close-toed heels

  • Minimize makeup and accessories

Business Formal

If you chose a career in a law firm, retail or department store management, or a sales job where you are interacting with customers and clients., then most probably you are required to wear Business formal, where you can throw in your own personality and not be as limited as a business professional.

For a man:

  • Optional blazer and tie

  • Leather shoes can be a different color from socks

  • Dress shirt and pants do not necessarily have to be the same color but should complement each other

For a woman:

  • Opt for an appropriate top

  • Pair the top with a matching skirt at a suitable length or slacks

  • Wear closed-toed shoes but they do not have to be heels

  • Optional blazer or cardigan

  • Go light on the jewelry and makeup

Business Casual

Most other careers such as IT, Media, Retail, Engineering…. Etc, would be flexible in regards to dress code, which would give you more freedom, still be acceptable for a professional or corporate setting.

For a man:

  • Choose a nice, clean top – polos are allowed in this case

  • Slacks or khakis are acceptable Can choose to leave out the tie and blazer

  • Make sure you are still presentable

For woman:

  • Go for a nice blouse or open-collar shirt

  • Pair the top with a skirt, slacks, or a pair of jeans

  • Simple, knee-length dresses are also acceptable

  • Can wear more jewelry and a bigger purse

  • Shoes can be flats or open-toed but should still maintain formality


It takes a lot more than just your clothes, to convey and express your professional self-image –

Body language plays an important role in projecting an overall image.

  • Sit or stand up straight – especially when speaking to your manager or clients

  • Make sure to have eye contact when speaking to others. This will not only make you more engaged in the conversation but help you to appear more confident as well.

  • Avoid fidgeting or unnecessary small body movements (i.e. playing with your hair, tapping your fingers, shaking your legs).

  • Practice your firm handshake – as it is the first thing you will do when meeting a new coworker or client.

  • Don’t be afraid to take breaks in your speech. Too often we fail to realize we speak way too fast and that it is okay to pause between sentences.

Now that you learn the above tips, go and dress to impress! Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine – even in your professional attire.

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