What does your work wardrobe say about you?
Tangled hair, coffee on your Breton stripes and crumbs in your handbag: it’s not hot, is it?
In working life, we meet new and interesting people every day, and we all know how much first impressions count. That’s why, when it comes to the way you look at work, it isn’t always just a case of being able to swap style secrets at the water cooler.
As Diane Von Furstenburg once said: “Be the woman you want to be.” Each day when we pull an outfit from our usually overflowing wardrobes, we are making a choice, be it conscious or not. If you’re stuck in a career rut, there’s no quicker way to reinvent yourself than by making a change to the way you present yourself. And if you’re happy with where you are, remember that keeping up appearances is often key to sustaining success.
The more effort you go to when creating your work image, the more doors will open for you. Of course, it’s not all about your look – initiative and hard work will get you where you want to be, but a little more time spent in the wardrobe can certainly give you a helping hand. So, what should we remember when we’re browsing the shop windows? And what do our choices say about us?
Be polished: Everyone skips a hair wash every once in a while (perhaps the morning after the Christmas party, it’s Batiste to the rescue?), but being well groomed says a lot about you. A clean, slick appearance when it comes to your tresses and brows can work wonders for you. A full fringe (bangs) or curls will often suggest you’re easy going and fun, while a sleek, straight cut will show off your serious side.
Nail it, every time: Nothing says “lazy” like a worn down manicure. Although there probably aren’t many things trickier than keeping a fresh set of gels chip-free, there’s a lot to be said for a well presented hand shake. So always carry a miniature nail glue or polish in the same shade for touch-ups on the move.
Mix it up: It’s easy to fall into the trap of finding somewhere that sells good work wear and never leaving again. However, if you want to be noticed in the boardroom, it’s a good idea to keep your look fresh. Mix and match items from different high street stores and designers to avoid looking bland and make sure you don’t have any awkward matching outfit moments with your desk buddy. Don’t be afraid to take fashion risks, either – as long as they’re work appropriate, it’ll show you’ve got bags of confidence.
Make the effort: It’s undeniable that we all have days where we’d rather shuffle into the office wrapped in a duvet, sans make-up and in a topknot. Simply making the effort to look good is likely to make you feel miles better and, if you’re in charge of a team, you’ve got to lead by example. After all, if you’re not prepared to make the effort to look chic, why should anyone else make the effort ? Always keep your ‘CBA’ feelings on the down low!
Dress for the occasion: There’s no reason not to dress as if you’re meeting your CEO every day. Having a well put together, signature look will stand you head and shoulders above your colleagues. For presentations, meetings and events, step it up a notch with a bolder colour or a statement jewel – taking casual out of your wardrobe vocabulary can do wonders for your working image. It says you’re always prepared and aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. If you’re in doubt, however, always opt for a classic look – you can’t go wrong!