Dress Code Straight From the HR Department

DC-area HR professional Anthony Frazier points to First Lady Michelle Obama as an example for professional women to follow.

DC-area HR professional Anthony Frazier points to First Lady Michelle Obama as an example for professional women to follow.

Guest Blogger: Anthony Frazier

Women’s fashion is very interesting.  Many manufacturers do not take into account how women truly want to present themselves in the workplace.  The benefit is that they have much more flexibility in being creative and unique (which men don’t) with their attire as long as it is within reason. Women have to be careful because without even realizing it, women’s clothing is designed to attract attention.

The most important thing is to know the environment you are going into.    In a lax environment, a suitable dress, slacks and a well-covered shirt will do. V-necks or swoop shirts should be worn with caution and usually have a top or jacket to go with it.
In a more professional environment, the Michelle Obama look is fine.  Skirt suits and pants suites are fine.  Skirts should always be at least knee-length.  Open-toed shoes can be touchy in very professional environments.
When choosing shirts, button-downs look great, but make sure they FIT around the body.  Sometimes they can be made too tight or too loose and lack the appropriate number of buttons to coverage cleavage.  Keeping a universal top in your office space is not a bad idea.
For the summer months, please keep in mind that you still must have a business presentation.  Just because it is hot does not give you the excuse to bare more.  House dresses, short skirts, tank tops, and other summer items are still not appropriate.  Keep in mind as to what your male counterpart will think.  The objective is to do work, not necessarily attract attention.
Shoes:  Sandals, flips flops, 5-inch heels (if you can’t walk fast in them), are not good footwear.
Among all, when choosing outfits, think about perception and how your colleagues both men and women would perceive you.  Think about client meetings, the attention you want and the message you are trying to convey.
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