How to Dress the Part and Win at Work
Whether it’s fair or not, you’d be surprised how much your appearance can play a role in how business associates view you. Showing up with wrinkled clothing and out-of-place hair can have an unwelcome effect on your career. This applies to both men and women, but let’s be honest: women are held to even stricter standards. In male-dominated industries, women must be even more cognizant of how they present themselves.
It is simple to cultivate a friendly, tailored and appropriate style for your workplace by following these tips:
Dress with thought.
Wear clothing that fits properly. Skirts and dresses shouldn’t be higher than two finger-widths above the knee. Stick with heels three inches or shorter and wear minimal jewelry. Skip perfume and heavy makeup, and forgo sleeveless tops and sheer clothing. These may seem like strict tips, but they will help you immensely in professional settings.
You never know who you’ll run into outside of the office.
When you’re not at work, it’s still important to dress in an acceptable manner. You never know what business acquaintance or work opportunity might present itself outside of the office. In public, you want to show the world that you are smart, confident and taking care of business.
Overdress to impress.
For women in the business world, overdressing is always your best bet. Dressing professionally — even when meeting with clients who are dressed casually — can inspire assurance in your abilities. Even consider classy wear on casual Fridays.
If your business is cutting edge, then your wardrobe should match. Make sure that your clothing, hairstyle and eyewear are all chic to the times. Though you always want to dress professionally, weaving in contemporary trends is a good idea.
Dress for geographical region and culture.
If you are meeting clients from another state or country, or you are traveling to a different state or country, consider dressing appropriately for that region. For example, in some cultures your neck and toes should not be exposed, and in China, white symbolizes mourning. Make sure you do research on the region before meeting with your client.
Shop less, dress better.
We only wear about 20-30 percent of the clothing in our closets. When shopping for clothes, buy entire outfits instead of random separates. This will prevent you from having a closet of orphaned clothing, and it will make dressing for work much easier.
Find a style avatar.
Is there a woman in your industry whose style you admire? Take note of her outfits and don’t be afraid to reach out to her for advice. Many women are more than happy to share their fashion tips and tricks. And you should be willing to do the same if an up-and-comer reaches out to you for the same advice.
This guest post was authored by Marja Norris
Marja Norris is the CEO and founder of MarjaNorris.com, a company dedicated to helping women achieve their career goals with style and confidence. With a distinguished career in finance, she has successfully navigated the male-dominated business world and is passionate about coaching women on how to be taken seriously, be heard, and get what they want at work. Her latest book, The Unspoken Code: A Businesswoman’s No-Nonsense Guide to Making It in the Corporate World, provides women with the tools to awaken their dreams and reach their highest goals. Visitmarjanorris.com.