Building A Killer Professional Wardrobe: Maximize Your Style

dress the part

It only takes a split second to make a first impression, and much of it comes from your clothes. In the work world, your look signals your level of accomplishment and the degree of respect you deserve. It also gives insights into your personality. How can you always look good?

Buy the best you can afford

Set aside some money for a wardrobe budget. Then get the best you can afford. It’s better to have fewer pieces of higher quality and classic style, than a closet full of trendy clothes that fall apart after a couple of wearings. Shop the sales, the outlets, off-price shops and even better consignment stores to stretch your budget.

Buy clothes that complement you

Are you an hourglass shape? Rectangle? Pear? Whatever your shape, there’s a style that complements it -and styles that don’t! There’s plenty of advice available online. Brigitte Raes and Lori Berkowitz’s book, Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want even shows you how to accentuate or de-emphasise individual body parts. Choose colours and patterns that complement your complexion and help you look your best.

Anchors and accessories

Every wardrobe needs anchor pieces. These are basic items that can work in multiple settings by using different accessories. Spend the bulk of your wardrobe budget on the anchors, because you will wear them again and again. They are:

  • Classic pantsuit in black, navy or dark grey
  • Comfortable and elegant shoes to match the suit.
  • A shawl or wrap to brighten the suit and keep you warm in chilly meeting rooms
  • Tote Handbag, the smallest size that will still hold your computer and essentials
  • Simple earrings

These should all be simple and classic styles: that’s the executive look. Then match them to your personal style with brighter shirts, pins and other accessories that show your individuality and reflect style trends. These accent pieces can be less expensive; they are going to change every year.

Your Style, Your Image

Your wardrobe is an important part of your image at work. If you want to be seen as a professional, you have to look the part. Look in your closet now: is your wardrobe a killer, or is it killing your image? Get started now!



Image credit.

Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.

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