Dress for Success

Have you recently given any thought to your personal branding? Have you ever thought what you would like people to associate you with when they think about you? Do you want them to recognise you for specific qualities, your values or an issue that you are passionate about, your presence? 

Your personal brand says a lot about who you are, what you believe in, what you represent and how you are perceived by others.  You may not think that you have a personal brand, but you do, thanks to social media. Every time you post an image, like a page, post a comment or share a view you are expressing who you are, what you stand for and what your values are.  How you dress is equally as important, yet it is an area that often goes neglected.  Either because it is seen as superficial or simply not relevant. Wrong!

The right clothes can not only be a big confidence booster, they can also be a big contributor towards your next career move.  A well put together look can go a long way in making the right impression.  Your clothes speak for you, they can make a powerful statement about who you are without overshadowing your achievements   What you wear and how you wear is an opportunity to show that you have self-belief and demonstrate your individual drive and purpose for the role you are going for. Its all about standing out for the right reasons, letting your personality and individuality shine and building your personal brand, necessary for your next big career move.

So, what simple steps can you take?

Organise your wardrobe

If, when getting dressed for work, you find yourself just standing in front of your wardrobe feeling uninspired and overwhelmed you need a wardrobe overhaul.  Maybe take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and start by organising what is already in your wardrobe so you can see what you have.  Determine what is worth keeping and think about how you can organise what you decide to keep in a way that allows you to easily see, remember and pick out from what you have. Where possible try to hang your clothes (have the same set of hangers not those horrible wire ones from dry cleaners) that way you can clearly see what you have and the clothes remain wrinkle free and ready to wear. Oh, and don’t over look your shoes and accessories they are just as important!

When was the last time you wore it?

How many times have you gone into your wardrobe or chest of drawers and found an item of clothing at the bottom, creased maybe with tag still attached that you even forgot you had?  Clothes and accessories that you no longer feel comfortable in, haven’t worn for over a year, look long in the tooth or bought on a whim have no place in your newly organised wardrobe.  Organising is as much about slimming down what is in your wardrobe to pieces you know you will wear.

What does your work require of your wardrobe?

This will depend on your profession, age and audience. Understanding this will be critical in helping you pull the right look together.  If for example you work in the corporate environment say law or finance, a beautifully tailored and (importantly) well-fitting suit for those important meetings is key.  It can make you look well put together, competent and trustworthy.  A suit may seem stuffy, so use the opportunity to allow your personality to stand out by for example adding a beautiful scarf for that pop of colour or an interesting necklace which might be a conversation starter. Be careful with fashion trends.  They come and go and what may look great on a catwalk may not necessarily look good on you or be work appropriate.  Focus on pieces that you know you will be comfortable and confident in and think about core, modern staples that you can mix and match to create a myriad of different looks.  If you really want to stay on trend better to try out colours, patterns or accessories rather than trendy shapes.  When choosing colours its worthwhile thinking what that colour choice may come across to others. For example, some studies have shown that yellow represents positivity and blue trustworthiness. Red on the other hand is good when you want to appear assertive, but maybe less appropriate if you need to have a difficult conversation with a colleague.  Green the colour of empathy might be a better option.

Good fit is crucial

You may love that dress, jacket or pair of shoes but if you have worn them to death they will look worn out, ill-fitting and sloppy.  Never underestimate the importance of well-fitting clothes which when properly looked after, can become your long-time wardrobe staples.  Invest in a hand-held steamer and decent hangers to ensure you can quickly and easily refresh your clothes, so they remain crease free and maintain their shape.  Don’t forget about your shoes. Wearing muddy or scuffed shoes with worn out heels will look scruffy and it can be an indicator to others of how much attention you pay to detail. Perhaps consider investing in a made-to-measure blazer or trouser suit which you know will fit you perfectly. Not only will it make you feel great but boost your confidence and clearly project the personal brand image you are looking to get across.  That of confidence, capability, professionalism and your drive. 

What about work casual?

This can potentially be a minefield.  If you are attending an offsite or work event which requires ‘smart casual’ a few basic rules of thumb apply. Don’t wear what you would usually wear to work or on a night out.  This is an opportunity to show another side of your personal brand, the fun, relaxed side so opt for a look which shows that off but still be conscious of creating a polished professional look.  Perhaps consider wearing an accent colour, a great pair of multi-tasking shoes or for that timeless pairing a great blazer, with a classic white shirt, a pair of dark, smart jeans or tailored trousers all finished off with a pair of comfortable heels or flats. Remember smart causal is all about separates and a look that if necessary, can take you from day to night. 


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