Dress down Friday gets a makeover

Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:21am EDT
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By Pamela Eyring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of the most interesting things to emerge during Fashion Week February 2011 in New York was Bill Cunningham, world-renowned fashionista and photographer of The New York Times, proclaiming: "Dress Down Friday is Dead."

Yes, business attire is back!

Button-down oxford shirts, pencil skirts, and sheath dresses for women and tailored jackets for men (and women) are all the rage this fall.

Then there's Banana Republic's MadMen Collection made popular by the Emmy-winning TV show about (New York's) Madison Ave in the 1960s. With Banana Republic's just-launched collection, you don't need a six-figure salary to sport polished suits or shirt-waist dresses and heels.

Of course, as every savvy professional knows, looking smart at work never went out of style.

Whether you're in the boardroom or standing around the water cooler, how you dress influences how people perceive you. Even on casual Friday, flip flops send a message just as loud as a tailored shirt and well-shined shoes, but the content of the message couldn't be more different.

As someone who works with professionals in all industries, in the U.S. and abroad, it's clear that the new/old look will benefit professionals on every level.

However ,there are a few "must dos and don'ts," along with one caveat: A fashion-forward look worn in downtown New York won't play well in a more conservative environment in the Mid-west, so take your cue from your VP or direct report.   Continued...