What does "Dress for Success" Mean?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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When interviewing for a job, your employer will form his first opinion of you based upon how you are dressed and your personal appearance. This is why it is important that you dress for success. This can basically be defined as choosing your wardrobe and adjusting your appearance for the purpose of making a good impression. How to dress for success is dependent upon where you work or the type, or job you are applying for.

When applying for a job, call the Human Resources department of the company in question to learn how to dress for success. Find out what their dress code is on a normal day and apply it to your style of dress for the interview. This will give the appearance that you already fit in with the current personnel. You can also learn this information through observing the current employees when you pick up an application.

If you are unable to learn any information about the company dress code, usually due to it being proprietary information, dress for success by sticking to a couple of guidelines. You will never go wrong if you wear a solid-colored, conservative suit. Men can coordinate the suit with a long-sleeved white shirt and matching tie. Women should stick to wearing a blouse that coordinates with the suit. Avoid patterns, as it distracts from a professional appearance.


Shine your shoes as well. Shoes that are dirty, scuffed, dull, or cracked send signals that you don't pay attention to minor details. Prospective employers have a high appreciation for those who pay attention to the little details. It sends signals that you will take the time to complete your job thoroughly.

Proper grooming goes a long way in your attempt to dress for success. Take the time to brush your teeth, shave, style your hair and trim your nails. How you dress is important, but no suit will look good on an unkempt person. Make sure you are free of odor, but don't attempt to cover it up with cologne or perfume. Many employers find strong scents offensive.

Finally, don't have any visible body piercing when you dress for success. Women can wear one set of conservative earrings, such as diamonds or pearls. Facial piercings sends signals that you are flashy and unprofessional, even if that isn't the case.


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Post 3

@SurfNTurf - I agree and I also want to say that grooming your hair and making sure that you bathe the morning of your interview is important because interviewers might also look at your fingernails and if they appear dirty this could also turn them off.

Also grooming your hair and keeping it in a simple style is important. For example, if you have long hair you could pull it back into a French twist so that it looks more polished and professional. Pulling your hair back allows the interviewer to focus on you and not your hair.

I always did this with my hair and found that I was also more confident in my interviews because I looked more professional.

Post 2

@Cafe41 - I agree with you. I also worked in human resources and I can’t tell you how many people would show up for an interview underdressed. Some women would come to the interview wearing a dress instead of a suit.

Although the dress maybe pretty, a suit is always required for an interview. It shows that you understand business etiquette and took time to prepare. Also women should wear moderate levels of makeup. Too much makeup will draw attention to the makeup and not on the interview.

This also goes with perfume or cologne. I would skip perfume or cologne for a job interview because the scent can turn off the interviewer. So why take a chance?

Post 1

I agree that in order to dress for business success you should have the right business attire. Men and women should wear suits that are either gray, black, or navy. These are really the most conservative colors and they are the most appropriate choices for any job interview.

I used to be a recruiter for a staffing firm and that is what I used to tell the applicants that we had. If you wear a suit in a different color it is not going to hurt your chances of getting hired, but these neutral colors tend to be more polished and professional and that is the image that you want to portray.

An employer at this stage

wants to know that you can do the job and are professional. They are really not worried about how fashionable you are. This is why I steered my applicants into conservative suits that were in conservative colors because I want the emphasis to be on their presentation not on their suit.

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