• Deborah Casey

You Clinic and Professional Appearance

Appreciating a dress code

As a receptionist, or first point of contact in your clinic or any business where you are employed, you provide the first impression a customer has when they walk through the door.

You are responsible for making a professional first impression and a part of that is how your attire. A dress code is essential for anyone who meets with the public and you need to look professional at all times. This includes the clothing you should be wearing, things you should be doing and things you should never do or wear when you are in a position that is meeting with the public.

Modesty is a must

As a general rule when shopping for work clothes, focus on modesty, safety and also durability. There should be a difference in your wardrobe between work and casual attire. The clothing you wear for work should be modest and directed by your profession, for example a holistic therapist will don a tunic, trousers and low healed footwear. The clothing will be comfortable, clean and ironed, will be eye catching in that they will give the customer a great impression of the business. These items of clothing are not akin to what you would wear for night out on the town and going to nightclubs

Modern and stylish

Dressing modestly does not mean you have to dress in old fashioned clothing unless the business has a ‘vintage’ style but a modern style is more suitable.

Fashion magazines offer inspirational ideas. Television programmes can offer some ideas of fashion and accessories for work wear. However though inspiration can be gains ensure that your work attire needs to meet the strict instructions from the company or business that you work for and the role you will fulfil. Avoid exposing your tummy with revealing dress, this is applicable to having belly piercings, tattoos and any other work must simply be kept covered as this promotes a professional image. Some businesses and companies have strict rules in relation to their dress code. It is wise to ensure you know your employers requirements before purchasing your attire.

Hemlines and legs

When choosing appropriate dress or clothing for work, and where you are not wearing trousers but a dress or skirt instead then the ‘knee rule’ is applicable. Clothing such as mini skirts, shorts and hot pants are definitely not the right choice for the working environment, although your area of work and type of employment will determine your attire. As a receptionist promoting a professional image for your post and to meet your employers requirements, choose skirts or dresses that have a hemline that comes to your knee as this promotes the professional image at all times.

Avoid sloppy dress

We all enjoy feeling relaxed with comfortable clothing such as a pair of tracksuit bottoms and a bulky sweater, but this is not the dress code that you want for the face of your office.

Indeed it is important that when you are going into the office you should avoid portraying an appearance of having just rolled out of your bed. Ensure that you focus on making yourself presentable as a suggestion wake and rise up a little earlier, this will give you time to wash, dress and brush and put up your hair, maybe wear a light layer of make-up, a little light perfume such as a natural essential oil blend in a misting bottle. Be thoughtful of what you eat for breakfast so as to avoid indigestion and be hydrated with a lovely refreshing fresh lemon water drink too.

Materials and Denim

Denim material is a cooling material which also has anti-insecticidal properties, and is a hardy and strong material. However this is not the material to have your working attire made up in for the reception or front office face of the business. Again look at your work place policy and ensure that you meet the requirements for your dress code. However you maybe attending in house training and denim maybe fine to wear.

Smart casual

There are now many companies that have adopted a smart and casual dress code, especially for male colleagues. Male receptionists are growing in popularity and you can take advantage of this dress code to look smart and professional without being stuffy. Once there was a dress code to wear a shirt, tie and jacket however many places have dropped these types of attire to give a more casual look. However clean, tidy and smart attire such as a long sleeved shirt with trousers, smart shoes and to complete the look. It is recommended that men loosen a few buttons to be comfortable throughout the day. However in a clinical setting male therapists usually wear a polo shirt and trousers with trainer style shoes.


There has been a steady trend in the world of tattoos and many see this as an art. However having seen many people working in professional health care settings such as the NHS who have tattoos on show there seems to be a problem with this image and it certainly does not portray a professional image.

If you choose to have tattoos be mindful of covering them and try to keep them hidden, this may feel like an imposition but tattoos do not portray a professional appearance. Research has shown many people feel that health professionals, and even police constables, wearing tattoos are mere thugs and have less trust in those in professional states who have tattoos.

Men can wear long sleeved shirts to cover arm tattoos and shirts with collars for neck tattoos, whereas women can do the same with a blouse and tie a light scarf around the neck to hide any tattoos in these locations.


There has also been a growing trend in piercings with many people having them placed before they choose a career. A front office receptionist, therapist or other health professional needs to be mindful that some piercings need to be removed, replaced with smaller item or hidden. It maybe possible to remove piercings during your working time and replace them at night however this is something you will need to consider.

Tongue piercings can cause problems with speaking clearly for some so be mindful of this. They can also be a harbinger for infections and damage teeth - front office employees want to ensure their smile is in tact so be careful about these. Other types of jewellery such as rings, need to simple especially if you are providing hands on massage therapy. Also be mindful that anything of value could be a potential cause of theft.

Keep jewellery to a minimum and simple, with consideration to the work you will be doing. Avoid engagement and rings with stones in if you are providing holistic and massage therapy treatments. Wear your wedding ring if you are married, a simple watch and maybe a necklace if it compliments your work wear wardrobe.

Men, keep your beard trimmed and tidy

Men with beards and moustaches can present a wonderful professional appearance as long as they are kept clean and tidy, trimmed and brushed. Being front office reception you want to look presentable at all times. There are some great men's magazines that promote beards and moustaches and there a variety of styles - make sure your beard is stylish with regular care of your beard. However If you don't have a beard make sure that you shave daily to avoid a shabby appearance.

Your crowning glory

A simple hair cut that is easy to manage and tie back can promote a stylish and professional image of your clinic or employers front reception. Make sure your hair is washed and kept clean and tie long back during your work hours. This will help prevent longer hair dropping onto clients during massage, although short hair can still shed. A front office receptionist can make use of different hair styles as long as they are not too outlandish or flamboyant, a classical style can achieve huge success in that winning professional look.

Your shoes; finishing touches that tells all

When it comes to a dress code and professional appearance your shoes send a huge message to your clients and customers. You need strong, sturdy but flexible foot ware that protect your feet, avoid making too much noise and give you ease of movement. Flip flops, Dr Martin Boots, stilettoes and so on are not appropriate foot ware for clinics and salons. Most professional clinicians wear shoes that a flat, closed toes, and in some instances, such as sports missuses, or sports shops the staff wear trainers. Slip resistant foot ware is also a great idea especially where there is tiled or slippery flooring. Comfort is vital, for me I do wear trainers as I have a problem with foot arches and trainers provide support. Ensure foot ware is clean and un-scuffed and if necessary replaced.

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