How to Dress Professionally: Boiled Down to 1 Sentence

Would you wear this to work?

By Ujin Han, M.B.A. '12

Dress for success, people say. But is it an old-fashioned thinking that we need to look professional at work (or in B-school)?

Whether we like it or not, how we dress in business setting matters and people (more importantly our bosses and professors) judge us on our appearances. If you walk into that 8 a.m. meeting or class with a wrinkled polo shirt half way tucked in and trousers that are a little too tight, you give an impression that you don’t even have skills to manage your own time in the morning. So why should your boss trust you with that important time sensitive project?

In this video, Howard Leifman, a HR Consultant, and Heather Tran from Theory give business professionals basic tips on dressing… well, professionally. It’s simple, really: Nothing too tight, too low, too big, etc. Stick with suits and separates that make you look clean, fresh, and a person who knows what they’re doing.


Of course, the work you actually do matters more than how you look. Some creative companies have embraced this “doesn’t matter how you look” idea and has allowed casual dress for the workplace. But in most corporate settings, how you dress matters as much as your work.

In the past few years, people have made light of the formal nature of suits and tuxedos:  fake tuxedo/suit T-shirt, which has become popular. But a local business, Creative Apparel Concept, has taken it to another level with its Faux Real line. Incorporating sublimation technology, they have made these fake t-shirts look more realistic and have been rewarded accordingly, recording double-digit growth for the past several consecutive years.

Now you’re faced with a dilemma: do you stick it to the man and wear this shirt (and not get that project that you really wanted with that amazing client), or will you be dressed for success?