By Traci McBride
When you see it, you know it’s wrong to stare, but you just can’t help it. Some blunders are not so noticeable and some are glaring.
In professional settings the time has come that managers and HR departments are paying the price for the creation of “business casual” attire. When business casual became popular, it fulfilled its purpose: Helping some employees relax from the matched suit day after day. It was usually just for Fridays, but over the decades it has become everyday, and from what I’m seeing and hearing, in some businesses, it’s often weekend wear seven days a week. Oh, my, that wasn’t the intention. Now we see sloppy, dated ill-fitting clothes every day. Here is a list of some of the worst image “killing offences.”
- Leggings are not pants – even if you do have a nice tush.
- Head-to-toe trend or designer – wearing any animal or flower print from head to toe, including accessories. Wearing Michael Kors everything doesn’t show style; its shows that you don’t know what personal style is and you need to borrow it. This also communicates that you are more about fashion than business.
- Flip-flops – Only appropriate at the beach! Unless your office has sand in lieu of carpeting, leave the flip-flops at home.
- Over accessorizing – putting on all your favorite and then some doesn’t make you appear serious for business and will be distracting to everyone.
- Too much of a good thing make-up – totally distracting, and with all the free videos and advice available at one’s fingertips, completely avoidable.
- VPL – with all the billions of dollars women spend on undergarments, why in the world would you not take the time to avoid all those lines? It’s distracting, especially to the opposite sex. This photo also shows the hazard of too tight clothing, a caution to being mindful of what your image is telling others about you.
- White socks with leather shoes – need I say more?
- Dress shirts not tucked in.
- Know the difference between a dress shirt and a sport shirt, and wear appropriately.
- Avoid clunky, rubber-soled, square-toe, unpolished or fake leather shoes.
Both Men and Women:
- Price tags on the bottom of your shoes – really?
- Cut your vents! That big X sewn across the vent of your jacket, blazer or coat is only for shipping purposes- it is not a style detail. I see this more often than you might think, so much so I’m going to start carrying a tiny scissors to snip it when I see it!
- Lack of tailoring. It’s true – if you spent $1,000 on a suit or dress and wear it without tailoring, it will look like a cheap suit. Tailoring is so key, it can also make a $100 suit look like a $1,000 bucks.
- Poor grooming. The quickest way to miss out on opportunities is to not take this seriously. Hair (on the head and anywhere else it grows where other will see it), teeth, skin, breath, nails, brows.
This faux pas list could be much longer but I wanted to give my top picks and what I see most often in offices across our city. My advice is to always be mindful of the message you are communicating as you walk through your life to avoid killing your image.
Traci McBride, the chief stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting, is dedicated to men and women who are ready to harness the power of their personal image using the most common tool, clothing. She offers support to companies that want to ensure staff at every level communicates the best of themselves and the company brand by elevating and not diminishing the investment of branding.