Is it true that when you dress better, you work better? We think so, and most likely your bosses do as well. After all, studies have shown that people who dress well in the office are given more responsibility and are shown more respect.
The hard truth is, people will always judge you for your appearance, especially when it comes to first impressions. You never know when you might run into a future employer, potential client, or even the love of your life in the course of work, so it’s better to dress well and appropriately.
Here are 8 guidelines on what to wear – and what not to wear – at the office so as to make the best impression on everyone around you.
1. Understand Your Industry
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or working in the creative industry, you probably can’t get away with wearing t-shirts and jeans to the office everyday (even then, there are guidelines such as no shorts or no tank tops). In a corporate or office environment, it’s important to dress sharp and clean, for you never know when an important meeting may occur. When in doubt, look at the people around your office to find someone to imitate.
2. Make Sure It Fits
Basically, if you feel that your clothes are too big or too small, it doesn’t fit and it won’t look good. Baggy dress shirts and too-long trousers are the main culprits here. The thing about off-the-rack items are that they won’t fit someone who’s too tall, too short, too pudgy, or too skinny. Even then, there’s bound to be several aspects (such as sleeve length and trouser rise) that doesn’t sit quite right.
3. Style Your Hair
Nothing says “I don’t have my life together” like unkempt hair. For most hairstyles, get a trim and shave every few weeks or so, and keep it up – or down – with some gel, wax, or pomade. Also, never leave your house with wet hair, which makes you look like you woke up late that morning.
4. Bag and Accessories
Is your briefcase torn or tattered? Unless it seems salvageable, toss it and get a new one. Make sure it’s always zipped or closed, unless you want the whole world to see your personal items. Keep it clean inside, in case anyone sneaks a peek. The same goes for wallets and cardholders. And if you really must use a backpack (“STUDENT”), please don’t get one of those intended for outdoor sports use.
5. Maintain Your Shoes
One way to tell the men from the boys: their shoes. Shoe styles aside, ensure that your shoes are polished from time to time, clean, and in good condition. If something is falling off, it isn’t difficult to find a cobbler around Singapore. Loafers are less formal than Oxford lace-ups and Derbys, so don’t wear them to an important meeting.
6. Choose The Right Watch
The watch you wear speaks volumes about your status, or so we’ve heard. That said, we’re not asking everyone to a year’s salary into a Jaeger-LeCoultre . Even a cheaper quartz-movement Casio or Seiko can look professional when paired correctly. The fewer details and cleaner a watch is, the more elegant and classy it looks. And please, no G-shocks at a corporate office.
7. Richer Colours
Walk along the CBD on a weekday and you’ll see endless seas of white, light blue, and purple shirts with black trousers. Pay attention to your colour choices and liven up your outfit with both light and dark colours (incidentally, darker tones make a stronger impression) to stand out from your peers. You should probably avoid neon or overly flashy tones though. You can also play with the colours and prints of your socks (no ankle socks!)
8. Trim That Facial Hair
If you’re Asian, and are lucky enough to be able to grow a beard or moustache, appreciate and respect it. While having no facial hair is the most professional, a little bit of hair might work for you, depending on your face shape and features. Find other people with similar features and experiment with that look and haircut, making sure to trim it with scissors or a razor every few days. But please, no goatees.
Ultimately, we believe that every man should invest in a few perfectly fitting shirts, trousers, and at least one good suit (read our guide on buying a suit). For that, it is better to go to a professional tailor who can advice you on the best styles, colours, and make them for you. Here are a few that we can recommend:
Founded by Master Tailor and former President of the Singapore Master Tailor Association, Thomas Wong, The Prestigious crafts bespoke clothing to exacting standards, with every piece completed in their Boat Quay home. Employing fabrics from the world’s best houses – including Thomas Mason and Grandi & Rubinelli – your shirt, trousers, or suit is made by tailors who has gone through years of training under the master himself. The retail premise also stocks shoes, clothing care products, and books on how to dress well.
Prices start from: $150 for a shirt and $1200 for a suit
The Prestigious is located 62B Boat Quay Road, Singapore 049850, p. 6705 6708. Open Mon 2pm – 6pm, Tue-Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat 10am – 5pm.
CYC The Custom Shop
Established way back in 1935, CYC was one of the first shops to offer custom-tailored shirts in Singapore. Since then, they’ve been tailoring everything from tuxedo shirts and suits for weddings to dress shirts and trousers for the workplace. Plus, they have a large range of accessories that include ties, cufflinks, bow ties, belts, pocket squares, and even suspenders. A fine attention to detail and the best fabrics from Europe and Japan is what makes CYC so awesome.
Prices start from: $135 for a shirt, $190 for a pair of trousers, and $788 for a suit
CYC The Custom Shop is located at Raffles Hotel Arcade, Orchardgateway, and Republic Plaza II. Click here for individual store opening hours.
Of course, appearances aren’t everything, but it pays to understand how dressing and grooming well can go leaps into helping you succeed. It might sound superficial, but welcome to the First World.