ENTITY explores what your professional look says about you.

Most of the time, how you present yourself defines how you are perceived. This is especially true in the workplace. Workplace attire and attitude are key to succeeding in the professional world. However, that doesn’t always translate into a button up shirt, a pencil skirt and a rigidly professional attitude. Workplaces today are evolving, changing and even developing a laissez-faire attitude.

It’s important, though, that you understand the workplace and the professional setting in order to get the job done. The untucked shirt might totally work at the juice start-up, but will be a huge turn-off to an accounting firm.

On top of what you are actually wearing, mannerisms speak volumes. Think about posture, confidence and body language – are they on point with the message you are trying to convey?

1 Posture

If your posture is impeccable, you exude poise and structure. Great posture shows that you are alert, self-aware and conscious of your appearance. Another bonus is that when you have great posture, your body language is open. It’s almost as if you are doing a yoga chest expansion and sending positive energy from your chest. You are not physically closing yourself off to either your boss, coworker or interviewer. Great posture has almost every quality of a great employee: open, structured and self-aware.

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2 Pencil Skirt or The Pantsuit?

Believe it or not, the pencil skirt or the pantsuit says a lot about your professional goals and attitude. When you wear a pantsuit to an interview, you exude strength, organization and a tailored character. 

The pencil skirt is much more feminine but the woman who wears the pencil skirt understands, knows and will prove that femininity cannot be used against her. That being said, her chest is not hanging out and she is either wearing a white button down or an elegant blouse. The pencil skirt shows the aesthetics you bring to the table while exemplifying a sharp, business mind.

3 Confidence

When you exude confidence, you imply to others that you are ready and capable for the job. You prove to your boss, co-worker or interviewer that you believe in yourself and will therefore get the job done, and get it done well.

Show your confidence by looking your boss, co-worker or interviewer in the eye while speaking, explaining your experience in detail (while highlighting the successes you have accomplished), speaking directly but not too loudly or softly. In addition, show that you are prepared for the presentation, meeting or interview by answering questions fielded in your direction with ease and knowledge. 

READ MORE: 5 Ways You Can Fake it ‘Til You Make It

4 Casual Wear

When and where you wear casual wear depends on how you want to be perceived. For example, if you wear casual wear to an interview, no matter how casual the company’s dress code (think Google and Amazon), your passion for the company will not come through as strong. If you dress a level higher than their daily dress code, you show that you placed an extra attention and took an extra step to show that the position is one of great importance to you.

5 Emails

Your professional look goes beyond apparel and your body language. In today’s age, emailing is a huge part of how you professionally present yourself. Email styles range from the super casual with smiley faces to the super professional with dry, factual language. Find where on that scale that will best represent your job.

For example, if you are a wedding planner, throw in some smiley faces to make the bride and groom feel as if their experience with you is personal. If you are following up with an email from a job interview, more formal language will serve you best. Understanding where and when to use certain language in your email is key. Also, set up a great email signature that showcases your contacts and website beneath your name.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Your Boss 

Instead of blindly walking into a work interview or meeting, assess yourself. Are you dressed appropriately for the content of the meeting? Does your outfit reflect what you want your boss, co-worker or interviewer to take away? Are you exuding confidence and showing your interest at the most professional level that you can? How you present yourself matters, so with a little self-awareness, you can model a professional snapshot of who you are in the workplace.

Edited by Ellena Kilgallon

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