As a dental practice manager, you've probably had days when you wished you could go around the office wearing scrubs like everyone else. It takes a little extra planning to present a polished, professional appearance each morning, but the way you present yourself can truly make a difference in how others perceive you. Whether you're starting a new job as dental office manager or you've been in the business for a while and feel like it's time for a wardrobe update, here are some things to consider.

Ask Yourself What Message You Hope to Convey at Work

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Are you an outgoing manager who loves bright pops of color? Or are you strictly business and feel sharper in traditional business attire? Most people have preconceived notions about someone based on how they dress, so think of the type of message you hope to send -- both to clients and co-workers. Even if you're wearing a suit to the office each day, there's still room to let your personality shine.

Stay Within the Office Dress Code

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Most dental practices have an office dress code, and that dress code certainly applies to management, even if you've developed the code yourself. In most cases, it's a good idea to require consistent, professional dress throughout the office. Muted colors are always good options since they're considered more conservative, so you can't go wrong with a solid jacket, pant suit, or dress, though make sure any skirt hem doesn't fall above the calf. Pastels and other light colors are also good choices, especially if they coordinate with the season.

Don't Over-Accessorize

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The office isn't the place to show off your entire jewelry collection. Keep accessories to a minimum, and avoid long, dangly earrings and hoops. Also, keep rings to a minimum and avoid bracelets, especially if they make noise when you move. Limit visible body piercings. You can encourage tasteful jewelry, scarves, belts, and professional ties, but as Coco Chanel said, before leaving the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.

Aim for Comfort

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Just because you're a dental office manager doesn't mean your work outfits need to be stuffy and uncomfortable. When investing in new work clothes, be sure to try on every item and bend, stoop, and sit in it in the dressing room. You can easily find professional options made out of knitwear and other stretchable fabrics, though avoid anything that's too clingy. A knit blazer, for instance, is a nice alternative to a stiff suit jacket.

Grooming is Just as Important as the Outfit

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The best professional wardrobe won't save a poor grooming habit. Make sure your clothes are always well pressed and clean and that hair and facial hair are neatly groomed. As for makeup, avoid heavy lip liner and brightly colored lipstick. Stick to muted earth tones that complement your attire, and play around with polished updos if you have longer hair.

Dressing to impress at the office doesn't have to be overwhelming. Work within the appropriate dress code and infuse your own personality in every outfit, and you'll make quite the impression.