Whether we like it or not, how we present ourselves in the workplace can alter how people see our personal, and company, brand.
You don’t have to spend lots to have a practical workwear wardrobe, says Image Consultant & Stylist, Maria Macklin. These 12 essential items will give you forty outfits and take the stress out of deciding what to wear each day.
Dear Daily Slog,
I’m feeling a bit insecure as I don’t feel I dress as well as my clients or other colleagues, and I’m finding it hard to keep up a constant standard – not to mention I can’t afford to keep updating my wardrobe regularly.
Also, I strongly feel that in this day and age an employer shouldn’t be able to dictate what staff wear unless they are in a uniformed role. Please help!
We need to work harder and smarter to progress in our careers these days, and part of that is standing out in positive way and being noticed for all the right reasons.
When we liaise, present, network and manage we need to look and feel good. When you dress to look successful, you will appear – and therefore be – more successful.
We also need to present as ourselves at our most authentic. If we try to be something we’re not, it’ll show. Understanding how to dress your body shape and how to add your personality will mean that you show up at work as your best self and will appear more competent, credible and trustworthy.
Given we make up our minds about someone within the first few seconds of meeting them, it follows that our first impressions alone can alter future relationships.
A new boss should aim to exude authority but also be approachable; a manager presenting to a new client needs to look professional and memorable for the right reasons.
Given we make up our minds about someone within the first few seconds of meeting them, it follows that our first impressions alone can alter future relationships between client and service provider, boss and employee, or colleagues.
You don’t have to spend lots to have a practical work wardrobe.
The 12 essential items required are one coat, two jackets, three bottoms (trousers or skirts), six tops. From those 12 you can make up to forty outfits. Add a comfortable pair of shoes or two. A little heel will add authority to your look however avoid going so high you can’t walk confidently.
Smart casual doesn’t mean sloppy. The more informal the dress code, the more emphasis should be placed on being neat and tidy.
Quality speaks, so it’s better to buy less and buy better. Buy the best you can afford. When you understand what suits your body shape, you’ll be able to pick the perfect jackets, skirts, dresses and trousers for you.
You don’t need to buy new any more, there are plenty of designer outlets, items on eBay, and nearly new options where you can find high quality items for bargain prices.
While dress codes have gradually moved away from formal to business casual, or even smart casual, it doesn’t cost you anything to always be well groomed. Smart casual doesn’t mean sloppy. The more informal the dress code, the more emphasis should be placed on being neat and tidy.
All employees are an extension of their company brand.
There are items of clothing which don’t belong in a business environment, such as, distressed jeans, white socks, leggings (unless you’re a personal trainer) and uncovered toes.
Whether we like it or not, how we present ourselves in the workplace can alter how people see our personal, and company, brand. All employees are an extension of their company brand. A company that invests in its brand is also concerned that each employee represents the core values of that company.
Enabling individual personalities to shine through, as long as they are congruent with the company product, brand or service, is key.
Maria’s Top Style Tips for The Workplace
Get to know the colours that suit you. Have a professional colour analysis and invest in yourself. You will understand which of your colours carry the most authority, which are your neutrals and which you should wear to create an impact.
In addition, get to know red. Red in the workplace is so powerful and can be worked with any seasonal palette. Alternatively keep it subtle with just one item of red, like a bold red lip, or a scarf or tie for a man.
One Colour, Two Neutrals.
Pair bold shirts or blouses with neutral jackets or vice versa. Work clothes don’t have to be boring, but you don’t want to dazzle and distract with a rainbow of colours. One impact colour and two neutrals are a good rule of thumb.
Add an extra colour with your blouse, belt, scarf, bag or shoes to make your outfit ‘pop’; it will make you more memorable to everyone you meet.
A silk scarf will soften an otherwise harsh tailored suit, and a necklace can give an edge to your outfit dependent on your ideal style.
Buy Less, Buy Better.
Quality speaks loudly, so pay attention to getting good quality shirts, blouses, jackets, accessories etc for work. That extra investment will send the message that you are worth it!
About the Author
Maria Macklin is an Image & Colour Consultant for House of Colour Ireland specialising in Personal Style Advice, Personal Shopping, Personal Brand Coaching and Wedding Style.
“I began my journey with House of Colour in 1996 and was amazed at the difference wearing my best colours and style has made. I understood how to dress in my clothing personality and therefore present my most impactful personal brand. The compliments came almost immediately and continue to come. I will empower you to have the same experience.”