To accelerate your career, the key is to create trust by dressing for success.

You don’t have to buy expensive custom suits to achieve your goal. You can buy off the rack if you take ample precautions.

That calls for professionalism in quality suits to match your traits that lead to promotions. What follows are tips so that you demonstrate you’re ready to be the boss at a top-notch company.

An outstanding book for career insights is “Confessions of an S.O.B.,” by Al Neuharth, who was a famous businessman and journalist.

He was a visionary at Gannett who also founded USA Today.

In his 1989 book, he outlined his recipe for success. One of his traits was to wear a shade of black for a power-suit look.

Wearing black suits is a common practice in certain industries, such as entertainment or if the boss is accepted as a maverick entrepreneur who can pull it off.

But it isn’t generally recommended.

Nor is a practice of a famous Hollywood actor. President Ronald Reagan, whom I interviewed as a broadcast journalist, was famous for wearing brown suits.

Both Mr. Neuharth and President Reagan were dynamic, unique exceptions.

Ordinarily, a more traditional approach is highly recommended, especially if you’re in an underdog role. It’s important that you develop the right image.

Dress for upward mobility

Suit Dos:

1. Wear a suit of natural fabric – wool – navy blue or charcoal gray suits. For summer months, light-weight year-round wool suits are available.

2. Make sure your suit and shirt are freshly pressed. Professionally cleaned at the dry cleaner is preferable.

3. See that your jacket shows one-half inch of your shirt cuff.

4. If you wear French cuffs, the cuff links should be simple and stately – not ostentatious.

5. Wear white or light blue shirts. (Other colors, for example yellow or pink, might work OK if you’re already the boss or if you’re in certain industries like broadcasting or entertainment.)

6. Wear traditional-style in ties in colors that color-accessorize your suit.

7. Make sure the widest part of your tie covers your belt buckle.

8. Buy belts with small belt buckles – definitely not large.

9. Wear belts or suspenders that closely match the color of your shoes.

Suit Don’ts:

1. Wear flashy or bright colors.

2. Wear a sports coat or blazer and slacks for important meetings – save them for casual days at the office.

3. Wear a belt that looks worn out or too casual with a big buckle.

4. If you wear suspenders, AKA braces, don’t wear flashy colors.

5. Wear a belt and suspenders simultaneously.

6. Loosen your tie or unbutton the top button.

7. Roll up your shirt sleeves.

8. Wear a suit in which you can’t comfortably button the middle button in a three-button suit or the top button in a two-button suit.

Tips for caring for your clothes

Suits, Sport Coats, and Blazers:

1. Hang suits on curved wooden hangers to promote breathing of your suit to enable it to return to its intended shape.

2. When driving a car, hang your jacket to prevent wrinkling and unnecessary wear-and-tear of the lining and seams.

3. If you forget a hanger, turn your jacket inside out with the shoulders touching. Lay it on a flat surface or backseat.

4. Have enough suits so they’re not worn more than once each week for maximum appearance and long life.

5. To allow time for your suit to air-dry, leave it out all night before hanging in your closet.

6. Dry clean sparingly – not more often than every 90 days or after getting caught in the rain. (Inclement weather is why long rain coats or overcoats are invaluable.)

7. If you stain your suit, try blotting with a damp cloth of Club Soda.

8. Press your slacks and jacket to minimize dry-cleaning costs and to retain the suit’s natural oils and shape.

9. To prevent accumulation of dust and lint and to prevent shining, fluff up the nap of the wool by frequently brushing your suit with a good cloth brush.

“Dress for success. Image is very important. People judge you by the way you look on the outside.” 

-Brian Tracy


1. In general, note that the tips for maintaining slacks should mirror your maintenance of jackets.

2. At the end of your day, hang your slacks by the cuffs on a cliff hanger to minimize wrinkles.

3. Use the pant bar to hang your color-coordinated ties.

4. Avoid walking with your hands in your pockets to avert stress on the seams.

5. To avoid static electricity that causes your slacks to cling to your socks like a magnet, slightly dampen your socks with water.


1. While cotton shirts wrinkle easily, they are preferable for comfort and durability. Otherwise, if you must, buy cotton blend shirts.

2. Have your shirts professionally cleaned for a fresh, crisp look each morning. If possible, patronize a dry cleaner that does the work in-house.

3. To prevent yellowing or ring-around-the collar, spot-clean and rinse your collars before taking shirts to the cleaners. Typically cleaners don’t give special attention to the collar.

4. Light or no starch is best to prevent yellowing. Especially for tuxedo shirts, if you prefer heavier starch wash your shirt at home before and after wearing it.


1. Invest in numerous silk ties. Select several tie for each suit for a fresh look each wearing.

2. To minimize wear-and-tear on the lining, untie your ties the same way you tie them and don’t yank the small end of the tie before loosening the knot.

3. Never dry clean your ties. Dry cleaners always seem to ruin ties. Try lightly spotting the tie with Club Soda or wash it by hand with Woolite.

4. Consider keeping extra ties at the office for accidental spills.


1. Alternate wearing your shoes – don’t wear shoes two days in a row, and store them in cedar-shoe trees after letting them air out at night.

2. Lightly sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes to absorb moisture and prevent odor.

3. Polish your shoes frequently.

Leather belts:

Treat your belts the same way you do your shoes. Rotate use of your belts for a good look and long life.


In an office-setting, nothing is more gauche than for people to see the skin of your leg – only wear over-the-calf socks. Again, accessorize correctly. Color coordinate your socks with your suit.

Weight change:

Depending on your physique, a weight-gain or loss of five pounds or more can change the fit of your clothes. It can mean the difference of one suit size.

If you gain weight, get some exercise and watch your eating habits. If your weight change appears to be long-lasting, you might have to dry clean your suits and see the tailor for alterations.


Losing or breaking buttons? Replace them using the original thread color.

Tear your pants? See your tailor. If it’s necessary to reweave them, be careful. Don’t allow tears to happen again. A re-weave often means shortening your slacks.

Final thought:

The rule of thumb is to always dress for the job you want in five years – especially, if you’re a young professional aspiring to become a CEO.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips — In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well.

Tips for Dining Etiquette with Your Boss or Anchor Client — Whatever the important business occasion, it’s helpful to hold your meeting away from the tense hustle and bustle of a corporate setting. The right ambience for deal making is often an opulent restaurant with sumptuous food. That’s been my preference.

Spelling Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills — Good communication skills start with using proper grammar and spelling. They’re central for your career growth. People who communicate stand head and shoulders above their peers.

“Dress for success. Image is very important. People judge you by the way you look on the outside.”

– Brian Tracy 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.