“Clothes make the man”.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this saying before. As much as we may not advocate for judging people by their appearance, the truth is, most people do. Your bosses, colleagues and even clients notice how you dress in the workplace. They may not say anything about it but they will interact with you based on their judgments. So as you prepare a career plan for 2019, consider your wardrobe and what it says about you. If you have no idea where to start, here are a few rules of thumb:
Keep it Professional
Professional means different things in different industries. A suit and tie is standard office wear in a law firm, but in an ad agency you might stick out like a sore thumb. So depending on the sort of work you do, aim for professional by ensuring what you are wearing is acceptable there. If you are not sure about the office dress code, ask a colleague or even HR. You can also look professional by avoiding over-the-top makeup, observing proper grooming (hair, nails, ironed clothes, polished shoes) and avoiding anything that may be deemed as ‘indecent’ e.g. very short dresses, plunging necklines, see-through outfits e.t.c
Dress Above Your Job Grade
They say if you want to be successful, imitate your role models. So if you are aiming for a promotion in 2019, dress like you would if you had that dream job. Dressing above your job grade can help you stand out among your peers and land you opportunities to help you shine. For example your supervisor may ask you to pitch to a new client just because they think your dressing represents the brand’s culture well.
You may not have a lot of money for a whole wardrobe makeover. However, you can accessorize your current outfits to add a distinctive style and help you stand out. Shoes, handbags, jewelry and watches are some of the accessories you can experiment with to complement your outfit. You should plan on investing in a few timeless accessories that work well with a variety of outfits. Choose only those accessories that portray your personality in a positive and professional way.
Budget For Your Wardrobe
If you want to dress impressively throughout the year, you have to allocate your wardrobe a monthly budget. Consider it an investment towards your career success. Make it something manageable so you are sure you won’t bail on it sometimes when your budget is too tight. Check out the latest office fashion trends and find out where you can get good deals. Budgeting also ensures you don’t go overboard buying stuff you don’t need.
Dress For Your Body Type
Wearing the latest fashion trends without considering your personal physical attributes is a recipe for disaster. It’s important to be honest with yourself and find out what works for you and what does not. Your height, weight, shape and skin tone should guide you in your choice of dressing. That way, your best attributes are highlighted and your flaws camouflaged.
Wear A Smile
Your outfit is never complete without a smile. Smiling portrays positivity, confidence and kindness. You are more approachable to colleagues and superiors. Clients automatically feel like you are friendly and helpful. It’s a very simple thing to do but it can give you professional mileage.
Most importantly, dressing for success is not just about impressing others. When you look good, your confidence levels rise and this is reflected in how you interact with others.
If you would like more advice on how to position yourself for career success in 2019, consider our one-on-one career coaching with our expert career coach.