I’ve always believed in the old adage: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The clothes you wear, especially at your job can have a direct effect on how you carry yourself and your attitude throughout the office. When I’m about to step into a meeting with a VIP, I’ve always felt more professional and prepared when dressed in a pair of heels, a structured dress and am sporting a perfectly prim manicure; I feel my posture naturally lift, shoulders slide back and a natural confidence emerge that tells me I can take charge and handle the day.
Others take note of this as well and gain the impression that you’re a person who cares about maintaining a professional appearance and looks responsible enough to take care the details of the job (and more.) As much as we like to say appearances don’t matter, they 100% do!
So here are some guidelines to follow on how to dress for success in the workplace:
- Be comfortable. Being comfortable in what you’re wearing is key to exuding a natural confidence. If you’re busy fidgeting with your outfit or are worried about how something looks and fits on you, it will inevitably become a distraction from your work throughout the day. Choose pieces you can move in to get the job done.
- Stick with silhouettes that you know work. Switching out your wardrobe and trying the trendiest new styles on the scene (ie. crop tops) is probably better left for your weekend or after work wardrobe. Keep to silhouettes that you’ve personally tried and tested which flatter your shape and keep you modestly covered.
- Show off your personality. Some say office attire can be boring with limited options (ie. black slacks and button down shirts). If you’ve got a bright personality, show it off with a colorful blouse or printed skirt. Play with attention-grabbing colors, textures and patterns to liven up your work wardrobe.
- Accessorize, smartly. When accented with a great accessory, outfits can act as a great icebreaker to a conversation. An interesting necklace can incite small talk and help ease yourself into a conversation with a new colleague. The trick is to keep accessories to a minimum so that it doesn’t have the opposite effect of becoming a distraction when you’re interacting at work.
- Highlight your eyes. Eye contact, as scary or intimidating as this may be, is crucial to giving off a great impression and exuding confidence, especially at the workplace. Accent your eyes with complementary shades that highlight your natural features. And if you typically wear glasses, show them off to showcase your personality.