Whether you aspire to climb the corporate ladder or become an overnight entrepreneur, you’ll need skills, smarts, and dress savvy. To believe that your outward appearance has no effect on your professional aspirations would be a mistake. It’s not that intellect or charm or pure tenacity can’t trump your exterior, but what you wear does generate a perception or judgment from employers and peers. A first impression can dictate the tone for an interview, client meeting, or presentation. And when all else is equal, a promotion, special incentive, or new opportunity may go to the individual who looks the part. So here are a few guidelines to stay on top of your attire.
Fit For A Professional
People come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of weight, height, or gender, a tailored fit brings out the best in a person. The right fit implies sharp and together. The “too-tight” duds of your college days are no longer acceptable. The attention should never be on the rear of your pants, rather your stellar ideas and creativity. Swimming in your clothing can make you appear sloppy; you should be a shark in the office, not in your shirt. It’s hard to find the cash to buy high-end options, so for young professionals, the best route is tailoring. For basic alterations you might pay less than you do for lunch. Find a local shop to measure and stitch. When your gear fits like a glove you can knock em dead.
Adapting to one’s environment is key when it comes to success. Young professionals need to demonstrate their ability embody a particular industry. The creative professionals of the world should consider their wardrobe a piece of art that reflects who they are. Those with political aspirations need to nail clean cut, with a memorable touch. And even a cubicle crasher need to stand out with a polished look if they plan to claim the corner office in the future. Know your audience and dress accordingly. Boring and bland don’t need to be the solution, but keeping your wardrobe within a set of industry standards is a sure way to escalate your career.
A Step Ahead
Just because you get coffee for the partners and speak only when spoken to, doesn’t mean you have to dress like the bottom man on the totem pole. You may be underestimated in drab professional wear. So embrace your aspirations and dress accordingly. Display that you’re prepared for the next level by dressing like the high level executive, manager, director, or owner you plan to be. This might mean a little extra time in the morning to keep your beard at bay, shape your locks just so, or add some accessories to top off your look. Be a step ahead and a step above the rest when it comes to your clothing.
Clothing don’t make a person, but they can’t serve as a reflection of how an individual carries and cares for themselves. The greatest professionals respect the fact a solid foundation gives them the ability to build. If your presentation leave an audience impressed, you can take the stage confident that nothing will distract from the vigor and value you offer. Don’t let your apparel ruin your reputation. Keep it clean and crisp, and your professional prowess will shine.
About the Author
Senior Account Executive – Screenscape Studios
Freelance Writer - ARC Communications