General information

Professional Attire
MPAc Career Services

Why is your visual image important?

The image you present in the workplace creates a first impression and very often a permanent impact on the people you meet. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in; individuals who present themselves in a neat and professional manner are perceived to be prepared, intelligent, and articulate. They command respect, and exude authority and trust. One’s image in the workplace can help with professional development, improve the way people interact with you, and foster success to meet career goals.

Corporate wardrobe is so important in the business world that some companies exist solely to provide image consulting services; unwise apparel choices can actually lead to job candidates not being extended an offer, clients choosing another firm, and deals not closing.

What does “professional attire” mean in the accounting industry?

CPAs represent their firm or employer in front of many different people from a variety of industries, so it’s important to look your best to help build confidence and appear qualified and credible.

Clients are looking for highly skilled, professional, and fast-acting service providers. There are many essential elements of great customer service and one of them includes the assurance of trust. While trust can be earned in many ways, one way is by continually appearing and acting professional at all times. The way we present ourselves in the workplace is crucial to whether we will be taken seriously and become a trusted adviser.

What are some mistakes people make when it comes to their visual image?

  • Dressing too trendy, casual or for a “night out.” Tending toward dressing more conservatively is always the best bet, and it’s also advised not to attempt to wear all the season’s trends at once. There are ways to incorporate the recent fashions into your wardrobe to show off some personality and style without looking overdressed or inappropriate. Websites such as offer some great advice on how to balance your look and integrate current trends into your work wardrobe.
  • Overly done makeup. While purple and blue eye shadow with a bit of sparkle and red lips may be suited for a night out at the club, it definitely does not work at the office. Wear the amount of makeup that works best for you personally, and aim to appear polished and professional at all times. You can go into any department store or cosmetics boutique for advice and seek out the specific products that work best for you.
  • Not investing in tailoring. Your work apparel should fit you well and be made up of classic items that will always be in style, such as a black pencil skirt, white dress shirt, shift dress, and dark-colored suit. Keep your eyes out for sales at the end of the season; you can likely pick up some well-made, high-end items at a discounted price. Always have your work clothes tailored to fit you.
  • Mismatch mistakes. Belts should match your shoes and socks should match your trousers. Remember: shoes make a big impression and can be one of the most evaluated part of one’s wardrobe, so make sure to have them polished and looking clean.
  • Wrong length of tie. Ties should reach the belt line. The most often-made mistake is made when guys adjust their tie that lets it hang too short or long. To properly wear your tie, make sure that is touches the top of your pants to cover the buttons or top of the zipper.
  • Not paying attention to the details. Healthy grooming habits matter and it’s a bad move to forget that the smallest details count. Remember to have clean nails, neatly  combed hair, well-groomed facial hair or a clean shave, a pressed and tucked-in dress shirt, and the tools you may need while on the job … business cards, a pen, tissues, and breath mints.