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Dress to suit

Rhonda A. Blackman

Dress to suit

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YOUR DRESS IS a reflection of how you feel about yourself and your job. Appearance matters!
The workplace is a place of business, therefore employees should dress to reflect the nature of business being conducted. Although some jobs do not come with a particular dress code, it is important that special attention be paid to your work attire.
Clothing – If there is a dress-down Friday policy, it should be uniformed. You do not want some workers “dressed down” and others “dressed up”.
Women, high splits, revealing tops, see-through skirts and dresses, too short or too tight apparel have no place in the workplace. These will definitely be a serious distraction to the boss and other work colleagues and in the case of teachers, to teenage boys with raging hormones.
Men, muscle-shirts, jeans and oversized pants at work are out of the question. Leave these for your other activities.  
Teachers, jeans and polo shirts should be left for tours or special school activities. Think of how alluring you will be if you save your revealing looks for after-work activities. Regardless of your lifestyle, please do not come to work looking like a member of the opposite sex.
Women, loose-fitting clothing is always better. Try jackets, suits, loose pants – no skirts or dresses above the knee.
Men, wear a decent pair of dress pants and shirt. Remember, fitted clothing always makes a statement.
Footwear – Slippers or sandals are perfectly acceptable for the beach, walking your dog or cleaning your yard, all being casual activities that require casual attire.
Women, try wearing a dress sandal (if you have problems with your feet) or an enclosed shoe with a heel.
Men, hard shoes in a neutral colour are more dressy, and extremely comfortable, no soft shoes unless worn as part of the work attire.
Grooming – Long nails should never impede your ability to accomplish tasks and really should never be so long that they look like talons.  
Women, if you do choose to keep long nails, be moderate in the length and design and make absolutely certain they are very well kept.
Use moderate hair colouring – keep loud hair colours for Kadooment or Carnival.
If you really hate the idea of make-up, try using just one product, especially lipstick – it can work wonders. Or, try using only mascara, powder or a light foundation, and a little blush.
Men, if you are going to shave, shave often – stubble and extra-long beards are definitely out and remember, braided hair is a no-no for the workplace.
Jewellery – Accentuating your outfits with jewellery is always alluring but do it sensibly. Loud clicking bracelets and necklaces should be left at home. These can become a distraction with the constant clicking and stop others from concentrating.  
The way you dress is the packaging of your personal brand; whether you like it or not, you will be judged on your appearance.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, a National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc. Email [email protected]