KAMPALA – Ms Shamim Mirembe once worked for a corporate business office, very brilliant yet she was never allowed to present her ideas before audiences.
People always sought her help for presentations, but she did not understand why they would not let her go all the way or even present to the board.
Ms Mirembe missed many chances, some even went to a confident and smart intern who would be asked to pitch on her behalf.
She said: “I never really understood why until I made the effort to ask my boss and he said to me; ‘Mirembe I say this with nothing but love. Your dress code is so sloppy that I just can’t let you pitch your own ideas to the board not even take you along with me to business meetings’.”
That was her reality check.
We tell ourselves people should never judge a book by its cover, but the reality is that some people have no time to go through the pages just to see what is in there. What people see is what they expect to get.
As you leave your house, make sure you are dressed the way you want to be portrayed. Will your outfit not be a reason for missed opportunities?
The Ministry of Public Service issued guidelines for all non-uniformed civil servants although some people still defy them.
Some workplaces set a dress code for employees. This ranges from formal to business casual or to casual, depending on the needs of the organisation.
Organisations that demand that employees dress formally sometimes allow for a dress down day and some allow for a business casual look.
Your wardrobe choice says more about your brand than you realize. Though it seems small in the grand scheme of things, it is worth your consideration if you care about your team’s productivity, morale and image.
You might be wondering how to dress in an informal manner without being sloppy, below are some tips to help you stand out in comfort.
Avoid too revealing clothes
As per the guidelines that were passed in 2017, females were told not to wear clothes that show cleavage, transparent ones, too tight or above knee length. This can be borrowed by people in the private workplaces too. It is safe not have to wear clothes that will provoke negative reactions from the public.
Etiquette Coach WerMs Barbara Pachter, says “Make sure your clothes fit. It may sound obvious, but many get it wrong. If your clothes are too big or too small, they are not going to look good. Ensuring a proper fit applies to everything you are wearing.”
Avoid bright colours
If you are not in the fashion or entertainment industry, stay away from bright colours; be it brightly coloured nails, braids or hair extensions. There is nothing as destructing as someone showing up to a cooperate office dressed in bright coloured clothes. If you dye your hair with unusual colours you may want to go back to your natural colour.
Make sure you are neat and clean
This may sound pretty obvious but you will be surprised to find that some people still show up to work with clothes that look like they have been in a cow’s mouth, some with unmatched buttons or even missing ones. No matter what the dress code is, make sure you are neat and clean.
Avoid tee-shirts with words on them
Do not wear tee-shirts with inappropriate prints or those that say anything that might make others uncomfortable. Preserve those for the weekend.
Make sure your have good shoes
Ensure that you have nice shoes to accompany what you are wearing. Keep your shoes in good condition, polish or wash them clean.
Do not wear heels that are too high and could make it difficult for you to get around.
Wear your hair neat and styled up
With so many hairstyles on vogue, ensure that your hair is neatly styled. Carry a comb and go to the restroom for a quick touch up if necessary before you begin your workday.
Wear rich colours to portray authority
Ms Pachter says: “Pay attention to your colour choices.” Darker colours usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones. If you are giving a presentation, make sure the colour you are wearing does not blend in with the background behind you. Also avoid overly flashy colours because these are too distracting and the visual equivalent of shouting.
Maintain well-groomed, neutral polished nails. According to the Ministry of Public Service, long nails with more than 3cm with bright nail polish or multi-coloured nail polish are not allowed in public offices. Ensure that your nails are clean and neat. Get a manicure, if you cannot afford one at least cut your nails and keep them clean.
Wear simple makeup
For those who cannot live without makeup, ensure that it’s not dramatic makeup you are wearing to work, keep it subtle.
Avoid ankle socks with slacks
“Usually when you cross leg and the pants slightly lift up, no skin should be showing,” says Ms Pachter. Your socks need to be an appropriate length.
Avoid strong perfumes
Don’t wear strong perfume or cologne. “Anything that anyone else can smell is not good,” says Ms Nicole Williams, a career expert on LinkedIn. To get an idea of whether someone can smell you or not, ask someone you trust. Some people especially the asthmatic, are sensitive to strong performs. You do not want to cause a colleague an attack due to your insensitivity in wearing strong cologne.
Avoid open shoes
Do not wear open shoes during working hours except on health grounds. It is awkward to wear a power suit only to match it with open shoes.
“Whether you like it or not, the way you look plays a big role in your success at work. The problem with appearance is that it translates to performance,” says Ms Williams, “Even if your boss doesn’t think any less of you, they will subconsciously think it.”