Traditional versus contemporary. Business casual versus smart casual. Written policies versus suggested guidelines. Like the rest of the world, the workplace has evolved significantly over the years and those changes include how we dress for work. Power suits may still have their place, but so do jeans and t-shirts in many offices. It can be hard to know what’s appropriate, especially if you’re new to a job or if there are not specific policies and guidelines to follow.

When it comes to your workplace wardrobe, follow these 5 tips to ensure you stay dressed for success:

  1. If there are rules, make sure you know what they are. In general, workplaces have gotten more casual and flexible but there are still many offices that have official dress codes. This can be especially true for client service businesses, companies that have cultural or global etiquette considerations, organizations that serve children, and other specific business categories. If dress code is important, information should be readily available from the human resources department.
  2. Stay up to date on trends and terminology. As times change, boundaries blur. Today’s classic business suit isn’t quite the same as it was in the era of Mad Men. has a great summary and graphic that shows the current difference between traditional business, smart casual, business casual and casual attire.
  3. Err on the side of overdressing. For situations in which you’re unsure of what’s appropriate, it’s always better to show up overdressed than underdressed. And, when you’re able, it’s OK to ask questions such as, “Does your team have a dress code I should know about” or “What’s your office environment like? Do you tend to stick to traditional attire or do you keep things more casual?”
  4. Follow the leaders. If there are people in your organization you consider mentors or role models, follow their lead when it comes to clothes. If they dress up and you consistently dress down, it can impact their perception of your skills and abilities, consciously and subconsciously.
  5. Some things never go out of style. A well-tailored black suit. A classic white blouse. Perfect fit khakis. A great watch, scarf or hat. You can’t go wrong keeping your closet stocked with these timeless pieces and dressing them up or down as needed.

You already know Klinke Cleaners, your neighborhood dry cleaner, helps care for your wardrobe no matter what you wear. As an added bonus for our customers who juggle work and play, don’t forget our Express Service promise: Monday through Saturday, all shirts and dry cleaning in by 10:00am are ready by 4:00pm.

(c) Can Stock Photo / gstockstudio