Brand You: Professional Business Grooming

Appearance & Grooming

As per the dictionary, Grooming is your Personal care or everything that you do to make your appearance clean and neat.

How you dress for work can be a powerful extension of your Personal Brand. How others perceive and receive you depends on quite a bit on the impression you create you’re your grooming and etiquette. Your clothes, accessories, footwear, hair, in short, your grooming helps to reinforce your skills and qualities in the eyes of your employer, co-workers, and clients.

The importance of professional dress code varies between industries. Be aware of company norms and follow them without losing your own personal touch.

General Guidelines

Who doesn’t want to look good? All of us know and follow aspects of grooming like donning ironed clothes, combing our hair, polishing our footwear etc, but there is more to grooming than just these.

There is no one way but some universal guidelines that you could follow include:

  • Being neat from head to toe
  • Avoid piercings and creative hairstyles. This is something you will have to decide on. Is your personal statement worth more than the job, a regular, conservative office job that is? Of course, in fields like, like fashion and music and a few other creative areas, piercings and creative hairstyles will not raise eyebrows.
  • Tattoos/body art: If you have any, make sure it is not visible.
  • Clean, clipped nails and hands. You will be amazed at how this simple aspect is ignored by many. In a corporate scenario, ladies would do well to use plain, light colors for the nails.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure the lenses are clean.
  • Use a mild cologne or perfume. Too much of it can be overpowering and in bad taste.
  • Have a conservative haircut and comb your hair to look neat. It’s a good idea to keep it off your face.

It’s a good idea to not use too much oil and shampoo your hair to keep it clean.

  • Do a quick check of your hair, face, teeth, and clothes before entering a room. Looking good will boost your confidence and that will come across in your interactions with others. Remember its bad manners to chew gum. At the same time check for bad breath and take precautions against it.
  • Add to your appeal by wearing ironed clothes and polished shoes/neat footwear.
  • Women: Conservative jewelry & make-up. Simple and less is better.
  • Men: Policies on facial hair vary by geography, industry, and organization. Basic advice is to keep it trimmed and neat.

Business Formal for Men

  • Formal suits/ trousers are usually grey, navy, or charcoal. Wearing a suit is optional. Its always a good idea to find out from the organization, beforehand if there is a dress code to be followed.
  • Shirt to be clean and It’s better to use white or any light colors. Also, most formal shirts are usually either plain or with thin stripes. Avoid floral and other prints. Wear the shirt tucked into the trousers.
  • Ties are optional. If the company dress code requires it, keep it conservative – the tip to not be too wide and it should touch your belt.
  • Wear dark, over the calf socks. Avoid athletic socks. The norm is to wear socks that are the same color as your trousers.
  • Accessories – Leather belt and shoes. Invest in a good pair of black shoes and belt. Depending on the color of trousers and shirt, choose a black or brown leather belt and leather shoes. Always team up shoes and belt of the same color. And remember to wear neatly polished shoes that aren’t scuffed.

Avoid wearing jewelry.

Business Formal for Women

  • Dark suit with a light blouse with or without a collar, salwar kameez or sari. The choice of attire will depend on what you are comfortable wearing and on the dress code a company follows.
  • Footwear to be neat and polished. Wear low (1-2”) heels. Avoid open toe, slingback or stiletto shoes and bright colors. Invest in a good pair in a neutral color. It can be teamed up with multiple outfits.
  • Jewelry: Avoid wearing too much. If you use jewelry, keep it simple and to a minimum.
  • Hosiery: If you are wearing western clothes – Stockings should be flawless and of a neutral conservative color. It’s best to opt for a shade that matches your skin tone.

Business Casual Attire

Make sure all clothing is neatly ironed and clean. Also double-check clothing for signs of wear and tear, snip off loose threads and avoid faded or discolored attire.

Men:

  • Stylish, solid colored pants
  • Long-sleeved striped shirt, in light or bold colors, with or without a collar
  • Socks that match your pants
  • Matching belt and shoes
  • Tie: optional
  • Avoid: Jeans, sneakers, sandals, t-shirts, baseball cap, pants with elastic cuffs, or sweatshirts
  • Always carry a handkerchief

Women:

  • Dress pants or skirt in a sweater and/or blouse.

Indian wear – light colored salwar kameez or sari

  • Neat flats, low heels, or dress shoes
  • Accessories: Keep them to a bare minimum

Carry a handbag with a comb, handkerchief or tissues

Follow these tips to help you stay with the general norms that grooming follows. How you come across to the people around you, impacts all your interactions. After all, an outcome of dressing smart and dressing appropriately to the situation is that you feel confident and in turn affect people positively. Create the right impression.

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