If you are or want to be an advertising executive, someone who works to improve the company image through branding, style, imaging, business press and goals, you need to dress like one. Though Dr. Abraham Zaleznik of Harvard Business School detects signs of many companies loosening their dress codes, advertising executives are still commonly required to look professional and conservative because they are molding and reflecting the image of the company.
Women: What to Wear
Most offices expect women executives to wear conservative suits or pants suits. Advertising executives should wear a suit that fits correctly and add small pieces of flair and creativity to stand out and make an impression. Clothing that's too skimpy will give people the wrong impression and may inhibit women from being taken seriously, while overly baggy clothing can give people the impression that they're sloppy or insecure. A pencil skirt, stockings, neutral heels, a blouse and a jacket would be appropriate. Sticking with classic rather than trendy is advised by Leah Bourne of Forbes because trendy may be too flashy or distracting. Shopping for several different styles of suits at different stores helps women avoid looking dated or dull.
Women and Accessorizing
Women advertising executives are often expected to look conservative and professional yet express themselves with flair and accessories. Some examples of accessories are pins, understated neck scarves and bold or intricate jewelry, such as large black beads matching a white blouse, black slacks and black heels, or a delicate silver chain bracelet, which goes with anything. Bold jewelry should be sparse and not overly exaggerated. Any body piercings should be removed and tattoos should be covered by clothing or a skin-colored bandage. Because different offices have different culture and expectations, women should always look to see how fellow employees dress to get ideas of how bold they can or should go while accessorizing. When in doubt, it's best to lean on the conservative side.
Men: What to Wear
Men advertising executives are generally required to wear suits; slacks and a sports coat may not count as a suit in some workplaces, and suits should be a neutral color and fit well. Overly bagging clothing may cause peers and customers to think men are sloppy or insecure while overly tight clothing looks unprofessional. A neutral-colored dress shirt and conservative tie should be worn under the suit jacket and the shirt should be pressed and not wrinkled. Professional dress shoes or military-style Oxford shoes are recommended and sneakers should always be avoided in the workplace.
Men: Grooming and Accessories
Before arriving at the office, it's important for men to shave. If they have mustaches or facial hair, these must be kept trimmed and neat. Men may also need to eliminate protruding nose hairs and cover any visible tattoos with clothing or a skin-colored bandage. Cologne or aftershave are optional but should be used sparingly and should not be detected from across the office. Hats are discouraged as well as flashy jewelry and piercings. Body piercings should be removed before men have arrived at the workplace. Understated watches, rings or pins are appropriate.
- The Art of Manliness: So You Want My Job: Advertising Executive
- All Business: How to Dress the Part
- ASAE: Dress to Impress
- New York Times: The Executive Life; Dress Down Days For Corporate Summer
- Burleson Consulting: Professional Dress Code Tips
- Forbes: What Women Should--And Shouldn't--Wear In the Workplace
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images