Can you imagine never having to think about what you are going to wear to work for 20 years?
Well, that was my life while on active duty serving our country. Why? Because the United States military has a very strict dress code.
The military has a uniform for every occasion. The type of work you are performing, and the location of the work will determine which you uniform your will wear. We also have a uniform for physical training and semi-formal and formal events.
To present a neat and well-groomed appearance by all military personnel, the military has specific guidelines on the appearance and wear of all military uniforms. The guidelines include sleeve length, hem lines, ties, belts, undershirt, and undergarments. Yes, undergarments!
As a part of the uniform standards, the military also tells you the type of shoes, socks, purse, coat and headgear you can wear. For example, women can wear pumps with ½ to 3 inches heal. The Army has an umbrella policy!
In addition to your uniform, the military also has grooming standards for hair styles, cosmetics, and fingernails. Extreme, eccentric, or trendy hairstyles are not allowed. While you can dye your hair, it must be a natural color.
Cosmetics can be worn by females if they are conservative and compliment the uniform and their complexion. Lipstick and nail polish can be worn as long as it does not distract from the uniform. Fingernail length cannot exceed ¼ inch from the tip of the finger and commanders can require nails to clipped shorter for safety and duty performance.
So, how can you dress to impress? Lahle Walfe said, “Dressing for success includes a lot more than just choosing the right outfit. To complete your professional look, you must also consider accessories and personal grooming.” Why? Because your appearance represents your employer.
So how do you ensure your grooming is complementing your brand? Follow the military guidelines. Now I am not saying implement a uniform policy in your office. What I am encouraging you to do is follow the spirit behind the military uniform guidelines.
Walfe offers five grooming tips to ensure your appearance compliments your professional accomplishments.
- Know and follow your organizations dress code – if your organization is business causal or conservative suit and tie, then match your dress to your organization
- Limit perfumes, scents and odors – scents can overpower the office and be offensive to others
- Wear neat and conservative hairstyles – hair color and style should not be shocking
- Business makeup – cosmetics should be simple and natural looking
- Professional fingernails and hands – clean and neatly trimmed nails compliment a professional appearance
Leaders are always on stage. Like the words you speak, your appearance also conveys a message. Therefore, send the right message.
What message does your grooming send?
Dr. Kim Moore, guiding YOU to lead with confidence!
Dr. Kim Moore
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