I’ve recently been speaking with a lot of women who have been seeking my advice on what they should wear to work. I respond with my version of “20 questions” so I can understand what their professional goals and personal style preferences are before I offer advice. Eventually, I always get to the question of, “what is your work environment like?”
One mistake we make is that we don’t dress according to the company dress code. Think about that person in your office that is always looks more casual than the rest of your colleagues. What words would you use to describe them? Junior? Inexperienced? Not ambitious? The reality may be further from the truth but it doesn’t matter; you’ve already made up your mind.
Adhering to the dressing norms of your company is the first step to building your personal brand and your executive presence. Which brings me to this graphic I found on Business Insider. If you are looking for a quick guide on what is acceptable in your corporate environment, then take a look at this. Just keep in mind that this is meant to be a starting point. Style is personal and its important your personality always shines through. It makes you stand out and ultimately you want to leave a lasting impression. Here’s a link to the entire article: How To Dress Like A Leader In Any Work Environment
Earlier this week my colleague was complaining to me that she had nothing to wear. She wakes up every morning, goes to her closet and stares at her clothes until she finally throws her hands up in the air and grabs her go-to outfit – something in black. Does this sound like your experience? We all have days like this! With all the pressures of the mornings, it’s a miracle we can even get out the door on time, let alone looking presentable. But these moments can easily be avoided with two super simple tips.
Plan your outfit the night before. Sounds too easy right? I bet you already know this but don’t practice it. This is key to putting together some great outfits for work. Mornings can be tough with the rush to get ready for that early morning meeting or maybe you are running around after two little boys, like I am. Why not take 10 minutes the night before to play around in your closet. Pull a few tops and bottoms, add the accessories – get creative and see what works. I bet you will put things together in ways you had not considered.
Create a virtual rolodex of your best looks. After you put that awesome outfit together, snap a pic with your iPhone or Driod and store them in a separate album on your phone. On those days when you are completely stumped, pull up your pictures and pick your outfit. It was that easy! (In my mind I am pressing the”That was easy!” buzzard from Staples :))
Hopefully these two tips will help you look great at the office everyday. Remember, you want your exterior to match your interior. You are spending a lot of time planning out your career and making those critical moves so make sure your appearance supports it.
Your personal brand is one of the most important things that you have. It’s basically your reputation; how others perceive you based on a variety of aspects including your successes or failures, what you excel at, how you present yourself (presence, appearance, communication style) and even body language. Luckily your personal brand is something you can control. I recently watched this awesome video on Ted Talks featuring Amy Cuddy and her work on how body language has a direct impact on how you are perceived and what you can do to control it.
What is your power pose? (You’ll understand after you view the video.)