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Dress For The Job You Want: Your Guide to Dressing For A Promotion

March 11, 2021 4 min read

Dress For The Job You Want: Your Guide to Dressing For A Promotion

"Dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

You've probably heard the saying at some point in your career. It's true that you should treat every day like a job interview when you're after that promotion.

But getting your style just right isn't easy, especially when you're climbing the corporate ladder. Keep reading to learn more about how to elevate your style - and your pay grade.

If Your Office is Casual

Due to recent shifts in office culture, inspired by the rise of startup companies, casual dress codes are becoming more common. While this can seem like a great perk, the casual dress style can be the most challenging to get right.

It can be tempting to take "casual" a little too literally. When you're dressing for a promotion, a casual office environment can easily trip you up. Here's how to nail a casual office look without looking like you're still in college:


You'll see a lot of variety when it comes to shirt choice in casual offices. The top you choose can distinguish you from your less stylish colleagues.

If you want to dress for a promotion, opt for a slim-fit button-down with a simple pattern. You can show a little style but don't go overboard. Leave the graphic tees and hoodies at home.


When it comes to bottoms, jeans are your best bet. While you might think that denim is synonymous with casual, the right pair of jeans can give you a look that is casual but put together enough to look professional as well.

When trying to dress professionally in a casual environment, opt for dark wash denim. Avoid jeans with holes or rips. Choose jeans that are fitted, tapered, or straight.

Shorts are a firm no - along with sweatpants.


Your choice of shoe can make or break your look in a casual office setting. While you might see your coworkers sporting shoes that belong in a gym, rising above this casual pitfall can help you dress for the job you want.

With more casual outfits, it's okay to reach for a slip-on or old-school trainer shoe as long as the color and style match your overall look.

But if you're headed to an important meeting or you have a date after work, choose boots or leather shoes to elevate your style. Never wear sandals or flip-flops in the office.

If Your Office is Business Casual

Business casual is probably the most common office dress code. It's a nice blend between casual and formal that allows you some flexibility to show your style.

Get it right and you could be next in line for a promotion. Get it wrong and you could appear too casual or even too formal - sending the wrong impression.

The Shirt

In a business casual setting, a collared shirt is your best friend. Star with a sleek button-down, tucked in.

Add a sport coat for important meetings. You won't need a tie in this setting. You can also style your button-down by adding a nice sweater.

The Pants

We recommend avoiding denim when you're dressing for a promotion. While denim can be worn in a business casual environment, it can be tricky to get right.

If you must wear denim, always choose a darker wash that blends well with more casual footwear and tops.

It's probably better to choose a solid-colored pair of slacks, khakis, or chinos. The color of your belt should match your shoes.

The Shoes

When rocking a business casual style, your shoe choice should be more formal than casual. Safe choices include oxfords, loafers, and derbys.

If you're a boot guy, polished leather or suede boots could work to your advantage.

If Your Office is Formal

While the formal office dress code can be fairly straightforward, it can be tricky to learn, especially if it's your first foray into the formal world. Fortunately, once you learn the ropes, this dress style is easy to get right.

If you're gunning for a promotion as a business executive, this style of dress is your best bet. If you're interviewing for a job or visiting clients on their turf, always err on the side of formal.

The Suit

Rather than choosing separate shirts and pants, you should be wearing a suit. The most important thing to remember about styling your suit is that it should fit correctly.

This means the jacket arm should stop at your wrist, the pant legs right above your heel, and the collar shouldn't be too tight. Make sure that when your suit is buttoned, it doesn't bunch around your waist.

If your office is formal but not too staunchly, you can mix and match the colors of your jacket and pants. In more formal offices, you should opt for a single-breast suit.

If you want to go full formal, choose a three-piece suit.

Suits should be worn with button-ups rather than button-downs. You can experiment with patterns, but only on the shirt or the jacket - never both. Stick to colors that go well together.

For a formal look, you should be wearing a tie.

Never mix patterns. You can choose a patterned tie or suit, but not both.

The Shoes

Choosing the wrong shoes can detract from a perfectly styled suit.

The most classic shoe choice is of course the oxford. You'll find a variety of options when it comes to style and material. Wingtip or plain, leather or suede - you can't go wrong here.

If your suit is black or charcoal, choose black shoes. If your suit is blue, gray, or navy, you can choose brown or black shoes.

We Can Help You Dress For the Job You Want

Stop dressing for the job you have and start dressing for the job you want.

Learning how to dress for the job you want can transform your career and your life.

The Art of the Gentleman is your one-stop-shop for style guidance and trendy workwear. Click here to learn more and to join the dapper circle today for style tips and so much more.

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