Want to know the secret to boosting your odds of a promotion at work? It’s pretty simple, actually: dress professionally! According to a new survey by CareerBuilder.com, 41% of employers say that workers who dress better tend to get promoted more often than the casual slacker who treats work like their home away from home. That rule applies to ALL industries – not just the ones which enforce a strict dress code like sales jobs, banking jobs, or careers that require a lot of face-time with clients.

For example: Target recently published a 20-page dress code for their Minneapolis headquarters. It requires men and women to slip on a dress jacket if they leave their usual work-space wearing something casual – like a short-sleeve shirt, or a sleeveless blouse. Also, a big PR firm in New York instituted a new dress code that requires workers to shave more often and that includes men AND women. Even if your company doesn’t have a dress code, there’s still a good chance your boss will frown on you coming into work looking like you’re ready for Happy Hour. In fact, here are the clothing items which are most often banned in the workplace:                                                           

  • 64% of employers ban flip flops.
  • 49% forbid miniskirts.
  • 38% say “no” to sleeveless shirts.
  • and 28% of employers prohibit jeans.

So, what do the experts at CareerBuilder.com recommend wearing instead?

  • First, stock your closet with the basics. That means have at least one pair of black pants, a dark suit, and a dark pair of shoes – since dark solid colors are easy to match with almost anything.
  • Keep your clothes neat and clean. In fact, consider hiring a cleaning service if you don’t have time to keep all your pants and shirts ironed and stain-free. Remember that when your clothes look sloppy, you look sloppy too and people will assume your work is sloppy.
  • Dress the part. In other words: Don’t dress for the job you have now, dress for the job you want to have in the future. Do you want to be meeting with clients and bigwigs and taking home bigger paychecks? Then dress the part!