Whether we like it or not, our image and the way we present ourselves plays a role in our success in the workplace. For some people, putting together an outfit every morning can be a daunting task.
I've put together 10 things to consider when dressing for the office, that will help you look professional and will make getting ready for work a little easier.
1. Dress For The Job You Want
If you are dressed for the position you are in, that's exactly where you'll stay. ‘Looking-the-part’ can enhance your confidence and gives you credibility, showing others where you want to go. Consider the image of a person whose position you aspire to be in. When you look the part, you can be imagined in it more convincingly. Opportunities present themselves to you, not the other way around so be prepared and you may find more doors opening.
2. Buy The Best Quality You Can Afford
Research has found that we attach symbolic meaning to clothes and that can affect how we perform, which is why when we wear better quality clothes, it is not just how they ‘are’ but that we know they are better helps us perform better in them.
Cheap clothes can be felt, both in the quality of the fabric and the fit, making you uncomfortable. Aim to build a core wardrobe with quality rather than quantity. The quality outfits will have a longer life and therefore, work out cheaper in the long run.
3. Look Up To Date
When you wear out of date and old-fashioned styles, people can read 'old fashioned' ideas too. Looking good for work does not mean keeping up with the latest trends, and you don't have to look like you just stepped off the pages of Vogue, but keeping your wardrobe up-to-date shows that you're current.
4. Dress Consistently
Not being consistent in the way you dress, dressing appropriately one day and inappropriately the next, sends mixed messages and can leave people not knowing what to expect ad you can appear unreliable. Make sure that the way you show up is consistent, with both your professional goals and your audience's expectations.
5. Dress Appropriately
If you work in a conservative environment, such as banking, accounting, law. dressing ‘alluringly’ can sabotage your chances of attracting the attention that will gain you credibility. Likewise, in a more creative industry, dressing in a ‘corporate’ boxy suit will have people to doubt your creativity. Dressing to fit the expectations of your profession, industry and the situation, enables you to fit with the culture and makes you feel like you belong with the team and shows your bosses that you understand and respect the level of dress expected from you. The more client-facing your role, the more professional your appearance needs to be.
6.Pay Attention to Colour
Colour is a powerful communicator, having emotional and physiological effects on both the wearer and the observer, influencing behaviour, and perception. To best use colour to your advantage, determine what your best colours are based on your skin tone, eye and hair colour, and the variation in the tones to determine your intensity level. You can then use this knowledge in putting together your professional wardrobe.
7. Dress For Your Body
Make sure you have a full-length mirror and check how you appear in your clothes.Consider your body type, size and the best fit for your shape. Clothes that are too big or cut for another type of silhouette can make you look dishevelled and that you lack self-awareness.
8. Get Organised
How you start your day can have an impact, so make sure your wardrobe is in order. Being able to put your look together effortlessly, knowing where everything is, and that everything fits and is clean will ensure you always look professional, and can do so without any stress.
9. Refine Your Look
Never neglect your grooming. Greasy hair, overdone makeup, laddered tights, or scuffed heels are a no-no. Great grooming shows they you pay attention to detail, and due to the so-called, ‘halo effect’ others will feel confident that you will also pay attention to detail in your work.
10. If You're Stuck Get Help
Find out from your organisation if they offer image training, and if they do take advantage of it. If not, ask if they would consider it, or take the initiative and get in touch, because when you look and feel your best, your career can be unstoppable.
Lizzie Edwards is one of Londons best Personal Stylists and Image Consultants for Business Women.