How to look professional for work
Image matters and as cliché as it sounds, our image makes a statement about who we are in all situations, whether we are attending a business meeting or social event or attending the all important interview, our appearance sends a message to others. So dear readers we pose a question to you all…Have you ever thought about the image you project in the workplace?
Many people overlook the importance of a chic and professional working wardrobe; your business wardrobe firstly needs to reflect your business’ culture, and then your personality…why? Because your image in the workplace sends a clear message about your own professionalism and unfortunately your bosses, workmates and clientele will unconsciously form an opinion based on your image… yes we all do it, so don’t think it doesn’t happen, because it absolutely does!
The best advice I was given in regards to dressing for work was “dress for the job you want not for the job you have”. It is therefore vital to know how to develop a professional look suitable to the industry and position you aspire to.
Your professional wardrobe doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. You can dress and look professional for work and still inject style and personality into your look by following a few simple steps.
- Know the dress code at your work. Different industries have different expectations. Professional industries usually require employees to dress in a formal manner in order to present an image of authority and proficiency. Creative industries, such as advertising and fashion, might require a casual image so as to portray creativity and uniqueness.
- Know how to create the proper image. Learn the difference between Business Wear, Business Casual and Casual Wear. Business Wear requires the wearing of formal items such as jackets and suits and ties for men. Business Casual is slightly more relaxed but still requires a professional element in your outfit, such as a jacket, vest, tie. Business Casual might be appropriate where you have no customer contact or are taking part in informal activities. But remember the first word is still business – so I should be business appropriate.
- Be polished in your appearance. Everything you wear should be clean and pressed with no signs of wear and tear. If you don’t take your image seriously, why should your bosses or clients take you seriously? Little things mean a lot – so don’t forget finishing touches, like manicured nails!
- Invest in quality items. Invest in tailored suits, and high quality accessories such as a good quality watch, brief case or laptop carrier and pen set (you would be amazed at how many compliments I receive on my monogrammed pen and pencil set when I whip it out at meetings) having these little touches will also show others that you are professional and serious about your work.
- Invest in clothes that fit. Clothes that fit your body perfectly will make you look a million dollars and boost your confidence. It is worth investing in a good tailor or spending that little bit more to buy an item that is perfectly tailored to your body.
- Aim for conservative and comfortable. Go through your business wardrobe and remove anything that is too short, too see-through, too worn, etc. Remember, the image you are trying to portray is one of reliability and proficiency, not sexy or shoddy. Also, make sure your outfit suits your daily activities. Don’t wear towering heels if you’re running up and down stairs all day. Wear clothes that look good and fit comfortably so you can focus on your tasks, whether it is a meeting or working on a building site. You can’t afford to be distracted because you are self-conscious or uncomfortable!
- Be prepared. Plan your outfit the night before. This will ensure that you always present a polished, professional image. Last minute outfits can have you going to work looking dishevelled or inappropriately dressed.
- Be careful with color. Colors can also affect the way people react to you. For instance, while red suggests power, it can also be seen as aggressive. In business it is best to stick with conservative colours in your wardrobe, such as navy, white, tan, grey and black, while using bold colors as an accent to your outfit. Talk to an image consultant to determine which colors suit your skin tone.
- Learn how to wear makeup. Makeup should make you look polished and professional. Keep it subtle for work in order to look professional!
- Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to inject some of your personality into your outfit. Be daring with your accessories or detailing. Try an interesting brooch or scarf. Combine a bright shirt with a conservative suit. Once you understand the dress code system, it is easy to play around with it and inject some fun into your look.
When you project a polished, professional image, it is easy to convey confidence and a positive attitude. These nonverbal messages are as important as the verbal messages when it comes to creating a positive first impression and establishing credibility. If you feel you need assistance in developing a professional look, or you’re not sure how to inject your personality into your work wear, an image consultant can be invaluable in helping to develop your own unique style!
If you would like to find out more, contact us today!