interview appeared on December 8, 1999.
"When we are face to face, it has become even more important to be extraordinarily professional -- to match the image people have already created in their minds," said Susan Bixler, president of The Professional Image, Inc. and author of The New Professional Image: From Business Casual to the Ultimate Power Look.
"We all want experienced people handling our legal affairs, financial affairs, consulting with us," said Bixler
"A lot of times you see older people trying to act or dress young, but they just donâ€™t have the body to do it," said Bixler
"...Golf shirts and khakis are great if youâ€™re young and trim, but they donâ€™t do much to camouflage that tummy and all the late meals youâ€™ve been taking in."
For older employees, Bixler
recommends a crisper business casual look, such as slacks and a blue blazer.
The bottom line
No matter how casual the workplace, it is almost always easier to dress down, than dress up.
So if youâ€™ve got a big interview or an important presentation planned, going for the jacket and tie is probably a good idea.
"If youâ€™re overdressed, you can always take off the jacket or push up your sleeves to get down to the appropriate level," said Bixler
"But if you are underdressed, all you can do is apologize."
If youâ€™re interviewing at a new company, try and find out what their dress codes are before you go in for the meeting, so you can get a good sense of what is appropriate and what is not.
But remember that the interview may be your only chance to make a statement, so you might not want to be too casual even if the general atmosphere is relaxed.
"At an interview, the employer is thinking: â€˜This is the best (the job candidate) is ever going to look,â€™" said Bixler