Professional Image checklist – daily dos and don’ts

by Feb 4, 2015

the mine fieldIt’s far from easy to come up with a definitive daily professional image checklist of daily do’s and don’ts in today’s ever changing workplace. It’s a minefield out there.

the mine field

Now a professional image checklist to navigate those business  minefields

So much depends on the industry sector you work in, the type of job you do, your geographical location and your personal style.  To complicate matters some organisations within the same industry give clear guidelines, while others adopt a more relaxed approach.

Remember for a successful image you must fulfil all expectations  made on you, by having a thorough understanding of the perception of your role, status, company and location.  Aim to maintain your individuality by wearing shapes, styles and colours that are in harmony with you and your personality, so you not only look great but feel great too

Remember to keep your look professional and current. Don’t sabotage your chances by getting the basics wrong.

.[Tweet “Whether formal or casual, you have to remember that everything you put on says something about you.”]

 Here is a daily professional image check list to help you with the main pointers:


  1. Hair should be clean and good condition maintained at all times
  2. Choose simple, well cut hair styles that are easy to manage
  3. For coloured or highlighted hair, roots should be re-touched regularly
  4. Wardrobe: Classic styles are more durable – dress in line with the norms of your sector and organisation
  5. Always wear subtle, well applied makeup – women wearing make up are judged as being more competent
  6. Keep fingernails short to medium length, always well groomed. Nail polish should be immaculate
  7. Clothes  should be clean and un-creased and in good repair.
  8. Choose matt fabrics – shiny fabrics are for evenings and cocktail parties
  9. Avoid dark lingerie with light clothing and anything transparent
  10. Avoid heavy fragrances



Remember a jacket

  1.  Jackets should be well fitted  – should be able to button up. Make sure that it doesn’t crease easily  -the only fabric where creasing is acceptable is linen, but even then be careful.
  2. They should be good quality tailoring in a high quality, matt fabric. This should be an investment piece. If you are on a budget,  you can always shop strategically in the sales.
  3. Always keep a jacket at the office in a neutral colour for unexpected meetings  – dress down cultures hurt women more than men



Blouses and shirts

  1. No tight clinging tops or sweaters
  2. No revealing necklines either front or back.
  3. Sleeveless blouses or tops underneath a jacket only. This can vary, depending on your organisation, the climate and the state of your arms
  4. Neckline 3cm above your cleavage
  5. They should tuck  in comfortably and should be long enough if your arms are raised
  6. Buttons must remain closed to 3 cm or below the throat.
  7. Cardigan style tops should be able to button or zip comfortably
  8. No see-through or bare midriff  – in fact observe the no skin is a rule throughout




  • Skirts should be well tailored and fitting in a good quality, matt fabric
  • Pleats should not pull open
  • Skirt should easily turn around your body
  • Straight skirts should not cling or curve under your bum
  • Length will depend on the culture of your office, your age and your legs – somewhere around the knee is advisable if in doubt
  • No high slits in skirts
  • No visible lines under skirt




  1. Well tailored and fitting in a good quality, matt fabric
  2. No sundresses – remember the no skin rule
  3. Neckline 3cm above cleavage
  4. Short, cap, medium or long sleeves
  5. Sleeveless dress depending on your organisation, climate and arms
  6. Avoid bold patterns and florals
  7. Not shorter than around the knee


  1. Trousers should be well tailored and fitting, in a good quality, matt fabric
  2. Zips, pleats and closings must lie flat
  3. The length should tip the top of the heel of the shoe
  4. Should not wrinkle across the front
  5. Fall straight from your bum and not cling anywhere
  6. Should not be tucked into boots
  7. No visible panty lines
  8. Worn with jacket for a professional look
  9. No shorts, jeggings or leggings
  10. No jeans

If you feel insecure about your professional image. Don’t wait in misery. Book an introductory Professional Image Consultation Now!

 Shoes and Tights



  1. Select neutral shades that coordinate with outfit
  2. Closed shoes. Strappy sandals, sling backs or mules are too casual and make women look vulnerable
  3. Avoid too high or very narrow heels
  4. Keep heels in good condition and shoes polished
  5. No flip-flops unless you work on in a swimming pool
  6. Tights should be nude, same shade as shoes or lighter, never darker
  7. No coloured tights (red, purple, pink)
  8. Patterned or textured hose can be acceptable if outfit appropriate – depends on culture of your company



Handbag or purse

  1. Small to medium earrings, simple styles
  2. Avoid dangling or large hooped earrings
  3. Avoid noisy jewellery or pieces that move
  4. Avoid too many pieces
  5. No tinted glasses – unless required for medical reasons
  6. Handbags, totes and purses should be good quality leather in classic designs and colour and chosen for your body shape. Beware of carrying too many big bags. Watch out for my upcoming post on that vital accessory a tote.
  7. If you are going for an interview pay special attention

[Tweet “”Whether formal or casual, remember that everything you put on says something about you” “]

The confidence which flows from getting your image will help you gain greater success at any business or social event.

csoper Subscriber
Claire Soper is an Image Consultant trained by the British Investor in People award winning UK image consultancy Public I & House of Colour Ltd. Owner of CMS Professional Image Consulting, she is based in Brussels and has more than 10 years experience working with individual clients and corporations running regular training workshops. She has presented at the annual Jump Forum Brussels, the British Chamber of Commerce and is often featured in Elle Magazine Belgium. Her corporate clients include AIG insurance, DDP London, Swedish House, Chartis, Procter & Gamble, FMC Corporation, Wella Studios, Johnson & Johnson, Continental Airlines. Claire is running the 3Plus International’s Build your Professional Image and is available for personal image coaching and consulting.

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