Young professionals fresh out of college may have let their grooming habits decline, but it is time to “brush up” on cleanliness when taking that first job. The modern workplace has relaxed its rigid dress code of the past, but that does not mean athletic wear is appropriate. Today it is normal to see fewer companies requiring suits and ties and opting for that casual look.

It is no time to let your guard down, but rather to polish up on your casual look.

Neat and clean wins the prize of a promotion. Clothes need to be clean and wrinkle-free. The last thing you need is to look like you slept in your clothes. Tips for maintaining this look would be to iron your clothing or use a dry cleaner. The gym shorts and sweatpants may be just the thing on campus but not in the workplace. Campus life has many interesting outfits, but your new employer will not be impressed by the sloppy slept-in look.

How should I dress, you ask? The rule is always to dress conservatively. Basic colors are the best way to go. While men’s and women’s clothes are different, wearing them too tight or too loose applies to both. It is never acceptable to show up in tight clothes with buttons strained under pressure or pants slipping down past the waist.

Personal grooming habits are of the utmost importance and a must.

Clean, cut, and maintained is the best approach for all hair. All your hair needs is a good maintenance program to keep it in shape. No one wants to see a greasy main of hair sprawled over your head. Men’s beard must be neatly kept or shaved daily. Lucky for the ladies, the beard is not an issue. However, the same clean hair applies. Many recommend that women keep long hair away from hanging in the eyes. Many experts advise women to pull their long hair back neatly into a ponytail or bun.

There are some basic elements of maintaining a professional appearance in the workplace. Don’t chew gum, eat candy, or smoke when you are in the office. It is also important to be considerate of others and not to wear heavy perfume or cologne.

The best advice for keeping and maintaining your appearance is to develop the habit of setting out your clothes the night before. Get up early for work and allow yourself the time needed to take care of your grooming habits.