Dress code expectations over the past 50 years have changes dramatically.

Beyond the courts and boardrooms of major multinationals the look of a professional individual is barely recognizable today from what it was in the 70s.

However, despite the fact styles may look completely different, one thing has remained the same and that is perception. Research suggests that 55 percent of someone’s perception of you is based on how you look. This is something that is unlikely to ever change. Professional attire will automatically suggest competence and trustworthiness.

Success is commanded by ability, but for those at the top there are certain features which continually present themselves. One of those features is the way in which these people are dressed.

In this article, we take a look at how you can dress for success before you are successful.

Pick your time

As we’ve mentioned before, expectations aren’t as highbrow as those of the past. However, despite everyday not being a black-tie like event day, don’t shy away from donning your best when it matters most.

A big board meeting, a conference, or a networking event is the perfect opportunity to display your class, demonstrating your ability to pull off a suave look.

Price doesn’t always profit

One assumption many people jump to when planning how to dress for success is that it is going to cost them an arm and a leg. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We aren’t suggesting that a host of designer labels filling up your wardrobe is a bad thing as it will certainly command the attention you desire, but it isn’t essential.

Pick a style that works for you and you can begin to build a collection of versatile outfits. For men, basic neutral colors in a suit can go a long way, only needing altered by a sleek and colorful silk-tie. Meanwhile, for women, find the right pair of trousers or a skirt and you can top it up with a different blouse three days out of five without anyone batting an eyelid.

Shoes make the man 

Forest Gump famously said: “My Mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going, where they’ve been.” The lovable character’s quotation couldn’t be more accurate.

Shoes are such an important aspect of any look and often the first thing that will stand out to someone meeting you for the first time. Women have slightly more leeway in this department as they can alter their professional look with numerous options, like sandals or boots. For men, however, put on a classy pair of brogues and you are on to a winner. Men’s suits aren’t difficult to pair with but make sure the colors are complementary.

Before investing in a pair of shoes, however, consider your daily requirements and usage. If your journey to work involves a three-mile on foot commute, you’ll want to shop for something a bit more comfortable.

Finally, don’t be so foolish as to purchase a pair of fine Italian leather foot companions and then fail to polish them — it shows!

Exercise your right to accessorize

Top up an already impressive look with a lavish accessory and you could transform your look from an eight into a ten. A necklace, a pocket-square, or perhaps a traditional time piece might be enough to boost you on your way along that all-important road to success. These additional items don’t have to be expensive. They could even be something you have lying at the back of your wardrobe or in a kitchen drawer — they just need to be paired correctly.

Over a neutral colored shirt, a man is granted the opportunity to display some of his characteristics through the choice of cloth that he wraps around his neck. Extravagant colors in a tie can suggest that the person wearing it is somewhat of a risk taker.

Kat Griffin, fashion and lifestyle blogger and founder of corporette.com discusses the fine line for women when it comes to handbags. Carry an expensive, quality accessory on your arm and colleagues and peers might appreciate your commitment to your work. But go too far in regard to luxury and it might come across as you don’t need the job.

Regarding a belt — a discolored one can completely offset a look. Remember you’re wanting to look at the top of  professional game, not like an extra from a country and western film, so be sure to pick your belt in a color that complements, not clashes with, your suit.

Clean and press

No, this isn’t a suggestion that you need to exercise more. A clean look, whether that be freshly shaved and groomed for a male or hair styled neatly for a woman, will finish off the most professional of looks alongside a well-ironed selection of clothing.

This is not an expensive or time-consuming contribution to the look, but it will significantly impact it.

Ultimately, seizing the opportunity to express yourself will allow you to feel more comfortable and strive to success. By following these simplistic steps, however, you can further enhance your chances of progression.