Dressing For Success: Tips From WTI

Whether you’re ready to report for duty at a new job or you’re heading into a stretch of interviews, you want to dress for success. Dressing for success looks different depending on what field you’re entering and what your own personal goals are. 

The Three Ps

Overall, if you’re heading into a professional role, you are going to want to become familiar with the three Ps. When getting dressed for the big day, ask yourself the following questions:

  • • Is this a Proper fit?
  • • Am I Polished? and
  • • Do I look Professional?


If you’re heading into any role in which safety guidelines are involved, you need to be aware of the limitations on your clothing. Whether you’re touring a factory, hiking past heavy machinery to get to your office, or walking through a busy kitchen, you’ll need to be aware of the safety requirements for your clothes. You might need shoes that are slip resistant, closed-, or steel-toed.

You’ll want to know ahead of time if your clothing needs to be spill resistant or fire-retardant. On top of that, you’ll want to be sure that you are wearing the proper length of clothing, including whether or not you need to be sure your clothing doesn’t have any strings that could get caught in machinery. 

If your job requires that you work outside or that you travel frequently from one site to another, you’ll want to be aware of the layering you might need to stay either cool enough or warm enough in various temperature conditions.

Industry Standards

Dressing for the industry or field you’re in falls along a long range from casual to business formal and many different steps in between. Overall, when you first start any professional job, you’ll want to aim for a business professional look and then see where your colleagues land on the spectrum of attire.

Business professional is a more traditional, conservative style of dress where you might wear well-fitting, neat, button-down shirts with a blazer, slacks or a skirt, and all of it in darker colors. This is by no means the industry standard across the board, but if you’re unsure how to prepare and don’t want to under- or over-dress for your interview or first few days, then planning for that middle ground of business professional works.

No matter where along the spectrum you want to dress, your clothing shouldn’t be too large, too baggy, too tight, or too small. Your clothing should be clean and freshly pressed (no wrinkles!), and if you’re insecure about wearing bright colors, don’t. It’s okay to stick to neutrals until you’re more comfortable in your new environment. If you think your skirt might be too short, then err on the side of caution and choose something else. If your collar looks like it’s been through the ringer a few too many times or your V-neck has been stretched to your clavicle, avoid those issues, too. Clothing that looks warn, old, or is too revealing should be placed aside for more casual places and times.

Finally, avoid shoes that are more fashionable than comfortable. Sore feet can hamper your work performance. They might be dressy or attractive, but if you can’t stop thinking about taking them off, you’re not going to be able to give your peak performance in your new role.

Gender-Neutral Professional Dress

Being able to dress professionally while at the same time dressing gender-neutral is a major priority for some professionals. Dressing so that you are true to yourself while still wearing clothing that indicates you’re aiming for a specific position can be a tough balancing act. No matter what your gender identity, you can wear gender-neutral professional clothing. 

So what does gender neutral professional clothing look like? A trusty button down shirt, a sweater, slacks, jackets, and conservative closed-toe shoes work for anyone, regardless of gender. Anyone can wear a pantsuit if they want to, and khakis are always a safe bet. Polo shirts are perfect for gender-neutral clothing, and plain dressy shirts are a perfect way to stay true to yourself while still following the expectations of a business casual or business professional environment.

Know The Rules

Check your company’s policy on professional dress before you start. Sure, you can always gauge what others are wearing once you’re on site or working as part of a team, but knowing what the expectation is regardless of what others are doing is very important. Plenty of rules are overlooked until the day of an important meeting, and you don’t want to be dressed in a casual outfit while everyone else has amped up their game to show off for the top tier. 

Washington Technical Institute

If you’re looking for a career within a professional setting or you’re searching for an extra boost for your resumé, Washington Technical Institute’s courses can be completed in a matter of months, with daily or bi-weekly start dates. Such flexible start dates make these programs unique and much more accessible for our students. Most of our certificates can be earned as a self-paced program, meaning that you can work at your own pace to complete your work, even finishing early if you have the time and motivation to do so. An additional benefit of WTI’s programs is that we offer affordable pricing and monthly payments to help our students leave school without debt. 

Although our goal is to help our students graduate their programs with little to no debt, we also recognize that some students might need to utilize a loan for their educational investment. We are excited to announce our partnerships with Climb Credit or Ascent, student lending companies focused on financing career-building programs. 

If you’re ready to enroll and start working on a plan for the personal and professional benefit of professional development, you can register for your program online through our website. Still have questions about our programs? Feel free to call us at 800-371-5581 or text us at 952-465-3702. Our admissions specialists will be happy to answer whatever questions you have.

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Washington Technical Institute is Regionally accredited by the Middle States Association CESS, and licensed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as an institution of higher learning