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Whether you like it or not, your book will be judged by its cover. Not appearing professional and polished can limit opportunities to advance in your career. If you’re consistently missing the boat even though you’re qualified, your attire could be holding you back.

If these qualities ring true, we have some work to do.

You’re too relaxed

While you’re within dress code, you’re boring. Of course not every woman wants to wear skirts and heels – it’s possible to be professional without them. However, even if you prefer more masculine attire, dressing with purpose is still highly necessary.

You may be more comfortable in casual clothing but there are limits to what’s appropriate. Stay away from anything strapless, too athletic or screen-printed. If you work in an “anything goes” office, you still want to present a message widely accepted among decision makers. Research how other leaders dress at your company. Look and act like a leader in everything you do – if you want to be taken seriously. 

You blend in

Going against the grain with company culture isn’t always a bad thing. When competition is steep, focus on ways to stand out. Don’t go overboard with neon hair and tutus but think in terms of style and grace.

If you’re too monochromatic, it’s easy for others to assume this trend will be reflected in your work. Be the woman others admire and respect. Employers need to rest assured you’ll represent the company with poise and confidence. Dressing the part helps set the tone of your mental process. Rock that power suit like you own the place.

You’re too sexy

Cleavage and see-through and thighs…Oh my! You hold nothing back. Curves a-popping and heads a-turning is the story of your day. While making a statement is important, that statement should eloquently represent your professional brand. Make sure the sexiness of your clothing isn’t a constant distraction that overshadows your accomplishments.

First impressions are formed within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone. You can’t control what someone else thinks is sexy, but you can influence the image you portray. Wearing suggestive clothing can affect your income if you’re repeatedly denied promotions because your judgment and authority are in question.

From your head to your toes you have to be on point if you want to succeed in the workplace. Keep upward mobility and perception in mind when you select your attire. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

 Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers find the career of their dreams by creating the perfect resume, providing interview preparation and career coaching. She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via


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Not Advancing At Work? It May Be Time For A Wardrobe Upgrade  was originally published on