Written by Sheila Dicks
Those who move up in the business world quickly and easily know the importance of a polished image. Knowing how to dress appropriately for business is a key element in establishing your creditability and an important factor in career advancement
No matter what your age or business, your attire should reflect the tone of the business and lend credibility to your position. Dressing appropriately and doing it with ease is something that everyone can accomplish and can be summed up in a couple of words – selection and organization.
All workplaces have commonalities and differences when it comes to the desired type of dress. It is your job as an employee or business owner to understand your company’s guidelines and the message you want to send. For example, accounting, banking and law require business dress; advertising and architecture are corporate creative; real estate, retail and the service industry require dress codes to which clients can relate; and in medicine, patients will feel much more comfortable with a doctor who is well –groomed. All industries have standards and guidelines. Whether you are an employee or business owner your success depends on how you are viewed and your appearance is a major component.
Your Wardrobe Essentials
Most people stand in front of their closet every morning not knowing what to wear. What do they do? They end up wearing the same reliable outfits they are used to which is usually 20 percent of their wardrobe. With a little planning, one hundred percent of their wardrobe can be utilized and with little effort. To get to this point requires a little work up front but will pay of huge in the long term.
To get your wardrobe organized start by getting rid of all the items that you haven’t worn in a year and then start building a workable wardrobe. If you are starting a new job, changing careers or simply deciding to get your wardrobe under control, begin by buying the best classic items you can afford in year- round fabrics.
For Women: A new wardrobe should consist of a jacket, skirt and pants in a solid, neutral color such as navy, beige or black. These pieces should be bought together to ensure that they are all the same fabric and color. Add a white blouse and 2 or 3 tops in your favorite colors and a print skirt and/or a print pant. With these items you will have several different outfits – jacket/pants and white blouse; jacket/skirt and white blouse; jacket/pants and green top; jacket/skirt and green top etc. You can then start adding jackets, pants and skirts that match.
Since your basic clothing capsule is a neutral solid color you can add a little pizzazz (depending on your industry) with color and accessories. When your wardrobe consists of pieces that match it is much easier to make wardrobe decisions.
For Men: Start your wardrobe with a suit in dark grey, black or tan in a year-round midweight wool or wool blend; add a sport jacket, dress pants, dress shirt and ties. Sweaters and polo shirts are great additions for a business casual look. As your career and wardrobe progress your goal is to have 2 or 3 suits, several sport jackets and pants and many shirts and ties.
Building a working wardrobe is an ongoing task that can be made easy through planning and organization. When you decide you are ready to add more pieces to your wardrobe look at it as an investment in yourself. As a rule of thumb, each item you buy should match 3 other pieces in your wardrobe, be well-constructed, easy to launder and be in a classic style.
Your Wardrobe Considerations
q Choose styles that are comfortable – that do not itch or restrict movement.
q All skirts should fall slightly above or below the knee for a most flattering look.
q Avoid fashion fads and do not wear flashy or noisy jewelry.
q Always wear hose, or socks for men.
q Wear closed shoes that have moderate heel height– nothing too high
q Avoid sleeveless tops and plunging necklines
q Keep fragrances to a minimum
q A full-length mirror is a must – always check the finished look before you leave home.
Sheila is a Style and Dating coach and founder of the Fashion Experts Network. Sheila is committed to providing men and women with the opportunity to create a winning image, gain more self- confidence and reach their personal and business goals.
Sheila began her image career over twenty-five years ago and has training in fashion, beauty and dressmaking. Her curiosity of ‘why people behave the way they do’ and her keen interest in self development stimulated many years of study and lead her to life coaching. She has helped hundreds of men and women transform their wardrobe, their lives and their self-esteem.
Her quotes and articles have appeared in Complete Well Being, The Chronicle Herald, Home life, Quilter's Home Magazine, The National Enquirer, Family Journal, The Fresno Bee and Fashion Merchandiser e-guide. She is co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life and My Style, My Way.
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© 2011 Churchill Brook International
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