What not to wear if you want to get promoted

Dressing for success doesn’t stop with the job interview.

What not to wear if you want to get promoted

Dress for the job you want.

Dressing for success doesn't stop with the job interview. What you wear can affect how your co-workers and managers treat you, how your team views you, and how your boss might perceive you when it's time for promotions. You've probably heard that you should dress for the job you want This is a common piece of career advice, but how does someone follow it? It takes a careful eye—you want to stand out subtly, and not make it too obvious.

Experts recommend looking at how your manager dresses, and following that lead. Avoid copy-catting and instead look at things such as skirt length, color palettes, clothing quality, and the style of accessories. "You have to really re-channel everything into being open and communicative without crossing boundaries," says Naomi St. Gregory, director of the clothes closet at the Employment Action Center in Minneapolis. "You don't know who's sensitive and who isn't."

If the promotion you're aiming for is a large jump, it can look too obvious if you start dressing in power suits to work in your cubicle. Yes, dress for the job you want, but don't go overboard. Simply step up your outfits in an understated way to send the message that you are ready to take on more responsibility. Men can switch from khakis to dress pants, or add a suit coat to dress pants; women can change to more formal outfits.

Are you dressing for the job you don't want?

Experts recommend avoiding anything that can be described as "too" if you are looking for a promotion. Too short, too tight, too old, and too flashy are all styles to avoid if you're hoping to advance. Workers whose style of dress doesn't quite fit with office culture can be seen as less serious or industrious than their better-dressed peers, and can be passed over or not even considered when it's time for a promotion.

What about your grooming choices?

Even the classiest suit can't dress up a trendy or too-young hairstyle, or overdone makeup. Dressing for a promotion includes the whole package, so assess your grooming style and see if might fit your new look. This is especially important if you are applying for a sales promotion or other outside position—your face will serve as the face of the company, and managers will be looking for someone who has the look.

Your look doesn't have to be moribund, though. "Clothing has gotten a lot more fun and creative," says St. Gregory. "Leopard print is the new neutral" as long as it falls within other guidelines at your workplace.

The perfect accessory: a great job

Many things can cost you a promotion, but your clothes and grooming are things you can easily change and improve. Following these tips can help you dress for the job you want and put yourself in a good position when it comes time for a promotion. Could you use some more help looking good? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you'll get career advice and job search tips sent directly to your inbox. Whether you want to find a new company that has more opportunities for advancement or you want to know the best way to ask for a raise, Monster can help you try on a number of good looks to see which one fits best.