How to Dress for Professional Success


What is professional dress in this global melting pot we live in? We need to remember “when in Rome, do as the Romans”. That being said, the information below is with the agreement we are in the United States of America and therefore, my suggestions on professional dress would be for the office personnel residing in the USA.

Many companies are requesting an informative and direct approach to employee dress. It has changed considerably over the years as our society has become more and more casual. Even while attending our churches, synagogues, the dress has taken more of a weekend relaxed style.

When selling to the public and your job is sales, there are some guidelines that allow you to look professional while not “over dressing” for the climate or client. Golf or collared shirts are good choices for men during the day. Loud prints or overly baggy shirts or baggy pants are not good choices. Dress slacks, not in denim, are the best daytime selection for men. Never wear a cap of any type while involved in your work day world. Even if selling country property, leave the cap at home. If you are selling farm and ranch, dressing for the ranch in denim, boots, hat are always appropriate.

Women should wear either dresses, skirts, or slacks with blouses, jackets, sweaters. Revealing tops, tank tops, halter tops are considered inappropriate office attire. No denim, Bermuda shorts, Capri’s in the sales person’s career wear. When in doubt always remember to dress better than you would for an athletic event.

Men, the definite no-no’s for work are the following: tank tops, tee shirts, mesh shirts, warm up pants, sweat pants, blue jeans, gym shorts, any athletic wear. In many companies short sleeve shirts are not company appropriate, so ask about that prior to arriving on the first day of work.

Ladies, the no-no’s for you in the workplace are: halter tops, tee shirts, cut-offs, sweat pants, warm-up suits, blue jeans, tennis wear, shorts of any kind, or low cut tops and too short skirts.

Shoes should always be in good shape, shined, and never wear flip flops of any kind during your work day.

Even in our more casual society there is a customer expectation as to appropriate dressing of their salesperson. More companies are reverting back to the basics with specifics on what to wear and not wear due to aggravation by their customers and consequent loss of the sale due to the poor judgment of the sales person.

When in doubt, dress up, not down and you will always be making the correct decision.

Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate with schools in Austin/Round Rock, Dallas/Plano, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Online. For more information, please visit

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