Dress for Success. Is that irrelevant in the contemporary business world? How much importance do we place on ‘dressing up’ for work? Well I think in some cases-not enough.
How well you know what I mean the image you put across? Image is established by a lot of different ingredients acting together. Physical appearance, dress, voice, manner, the views you express or the fact you do not express any and the way you respond to the people around you. These impressions are made instantly. Images are so powerful because however little you may like it they do say something true about your personality. It’s no accident that you dress, talk and behave the way you do.
And, to broaden this topic..
The way you carry yourself and dress shows who you’re and everything you are. So if you’re on a aggressive career path or a managing a business of your own, your personality and your clothing precedes your image and can open doors for you. Learning to manage the image with right clothing can make or break your success.
Hot Topic: Power Dressing
More than men, for professional women, managing their wardrobe and their dressing is a very important part as important as their professional qualifications are. As you rise up in your career, you’ll find yourself managing perceptions and image in the spirit of the others who’re interacting with you. Therefore it’s important that you project the right image and give the right message with appropriate and stylish dressing.
So what is your visual appearance like? Do you grab the first point you see in the morning or put some thought into what is the more appropriate outfit for that day? Having an extensive wardrobe of all the latest fashions is not really necessary. Establishing your own image and a deep sense of individual personality and style is the key. You may only need a few quality, signature pieces that reflect your individual style and that you will be able to mix and match. You do not have to look different every day, you just need to look good and look professional.
You don’t need to purchase expensive stuff to add to your official suits wardrobe. You can be smart in buying few nick knacks and some very nice stuff and co-ordinate them to achieve the best look. It is the way you feel and look while wearing fashionable clothing that makes you look good.
Get up and get dressed! Ditch the pj’s and trackie daks. Put on something smart and comfortable. I’ve often read that it contributes to have a separate work place in your home, a dedicated office phone line. Well it is the same with your personal brand. To be making calls, sending emails and acting in a professional way to run your business, means dressing in a professional way too. Now I do not mean you could use a shirt and tie or a corporate outfit but choose clothes that make you feel like you are working. You must look smart not only in the view of the people you are around but your own as well.
It is only human nature that we form opinions of others depending on the way they dress. That being said, it is essential that we dress to impress in the work place. When considering your work wardrobe think ‘power dressing’. These days that does not necessarily mean dull and boring but your work wear attire should always aim to ooze confidence and professionalism. There is a vast range of women’s wear that can accomplish just that.
Going out to respond to a client? Dress appropriately for the occasion. Do your research. You would not go to a client meeting without knowing a few words about the company. Find out how the boss dresses, it’s a start, or the code of dress in that organisation and get it up a notch. After all you are there to gain the client’s business and that will not happen if you dress inappropriately or look like a pig.
Business meetings with clients to show them that you’ve prepared and dressed well for the opportunity to impart to them how much you value them.
Think about what they are looking for. If you are in finance, law or other professional services they want you to look like a credible, successful business person. You might be in IT or a creative service. Your potential client would not expect to meet you in a 3 piece suit. However does that mean you need to wear jeans and scruffy sneakers? Think about it, plan it out. You are a portion of the package that you are presenting to the client. People should not judge us by our outward appearances. However, of course they do.
I know a number of professional speakers, it’s the industry I’m in. Let me share an example of two men, both $10, 000 speakers. One works mostly with creatives yet has invested time and money into developing his image, finding the right cut to suit his body shape, wearing flattering colours, and choosing smart casual outfits. He looks like a $10, 000 speaker. Another with a great reputation for the work he does with leading entrepreneurs still chooses to wear the tried (or maybe tired) and trusted jeans and black jacket. Mmmmm.
This scenario should be taken into account also by those that work in a slightly more casual workplace environment or have to endure casual work days. Jeans just do not cut it. They are what you wear when you’re out and about at weekends or going out with friends at night.
Your appearance does label you; therefore it is essential to get the right label! If your appearance shows that you care, people will recognise this. If you sound like a slob, they begin to question your professionalism. It’s not trivial to focus on your outward appearance. When you carefully choose your wardrobe and create your look and personal style, you propel yourself forward by having a unique self brand.
Each workplace usually sets its own standards. However in the corporate environment there is an underlying code of dressing which is smart and professional. Suits have been the most acceptable form of dress in most industries with a trend today toward more casual wear particularly in IT and advertising and similar industries. Men have it easier than women in the question of image. They at least have an example to follow. If everyone in the office wears suits there’s no question they’ll do the same.
I think if you’re one good working outfit for every day of the week that is all you really need. The idea is to mix and match and choose good, quality pieces. You can update with shirts, ties and accessories. What your clients or bosses want is a person who looks speaks and acts like they think someone in that situation should speak or act. I think a woman or man who dresses smartly, elegantly and looks neat has a clear image of his or herself and what they’re presenting to the exterior world.