Staff Photo by Meghan Brown
Ed Harrison wears Perry Ellis dress slacks, $79.50, with Perry Ellis shirt, $69.50, Nautica belt, $34, and Jones New York silk tie, $35. Black leather shoes by Calvin Klein, $90. Fashions courtesy of Belk.
What you wear to work depends on the culture and customs of your workplace, fashion experts say. “But whatever you do, you should look your best,” said Denise Leach, an affiliate broker at Innovative Realty Group in Chattanooga. “I believe first impressions make a big difference.”
Ms. Leach said her background in banking influenced her dress-for-success mentality.
“And now that I’m in the real-estate business, looking professional is even more important to me,” she said. “I am an independent contractor, and how I dress is how I reflect myself, not a company.”
While she wears jeans occasionally, she said, she makes sure to dress them up.
“If I’m going to show property out in the field, I’ll wear jeans, but I still want to look stylish,” she said. “I’ll wear a blouse, blazer and nice shoes with the jeans, and then right before I show the property, I’ll change into appropriate shoes. You don’t want to wear a suit and high heels when you’re walking through woods and fields.”
When she’s showing homes or businesses, her typical attire is professional — dress slacks or skirt with a feminine top, she said.
“When I have a closing, I always wear a suit,” she said.
According to the Web site associatedcontent.com, men also need to dress appropriately for their work environment.
“Men who are dressing with a professional dress code need to be clean-shaven and aim for a conservative look; this means stocking up on ties, high-quality belts and a formal watch,” the Web site noted.
Wear collared shirts, starched and pressed, experts say. The shirt offers a polished and pulledtogether look, and ties should reach exactly the middle of the belt buckle. Avoid loose- or tight-fitting clothing that leads to an unprofessional, haphazard look.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...