Dress for Success

Business Professional Attire Tips for Men and Women

Posted by Liz Taylor Jan 19, 2012

Every year, I meet with several sales organizations that want to discuss workplace image. Executives feel a lack of professionalism within their team and expect all of their sales reps to get on the same page.

As a sales rep, it's your responsibility to ask your sales manager or boss what their expectations are when you are out in the field meeting with prospects and clients.

MEN: If a suit and tie is expected of you, some quick tips include:

  1. Wear a dark suit, dress shirt, conservative tie and dressy leather shoes.
  2. Throw out any dated ties that you wouldn’t find currently in stock at a department or specialty store.
  3. Make sure your belt matches your shoes and your socks match your slacks.
  4. Accessories are important and should include a nice business card holder, pen (doesn’t have to be Montblanc, but something that looks polished), leather portfolio and watch.

If your work environment is a touch more casual, some quick tips include:

  1. Wear a blazer or seasonal sport coat with slacks along with a dress shirt or casual button-down shirt. Ties can be optional. A loafer type shoe and socks that match your slacks is a must.

If you aren’t sure if the company you are meeting with is business formal or casual, it’s always better to dress up than down.

WOMEN: If a suit is expected of you, some quick tips include:

  1. Wear a dark suit or business-style dress with a jacket and heels. Stockings are optional in the summer unless your company has a strict policy requiring nylons.
  2. Save your low cut and sheer tops for the weekend.
  3. Wear a camisole underneath your button-up shirt.
  4. Make sure your shoes are shined.
  5. Accessorize with minimal jewelry, nice pen, leather tote bag (black is always a safe bet) and business card holder.

If your work environment is a touch more casual, some quick tips include:

  1. Wear a skirt or pants with an open-collar shirt, knit shirt or sweater. Refrain from spaghetti straps and anything too tight. Also, wear heels for a more professional look.
If you have any questions on your apparel in the workplace, feel free to call Etiquette Principles at: 952.994.4281.

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

All testimonials...