With the change in seasons forcing a wardrobe shift even before the first chill of autumn, it can be tempting to adopt the latest trends from September fashion magazines for the office. Don’t be the co-worker, however, who assembles a work wardrobe so out of sync that it raises the eyebrows of the company HR director.
Angela Williams often sees people wearing work clothes so inappropriate for a company’s culture, their outfits could be hurting their careers. She regularly offers intervention as vice president of workforce development at Dress for Success. The international nonprofit helps low-income women by providing job-interview business suits and work outfits, as well as career development counseling.
In other words, ensuring we all Dress for Success is Angela’s mission. We reached out for advice on assembling a work-appropriate wardrobe, because we could all use a little help at times.
“We’re all individuals, but at the end of the day, a lot of what happens at work is about perception, Angela said. “We all like to self-identify but there are these perceptions in the first five to 10 seconds.”
Appearances do matter, especially when someone first meets you, especially in a job interview or on a new project, Angela warned. Her organization also offers advice on work clothes for women on its Dress for Success blog, including tips for shopping on a tight budget. Craigslist even has a “free” section if you need to build your wardrobe quickly with limited resources, according to the article.
Angela sees the casual Friday phenomenon that has relaxed wardrobe rules as confusing to some, who can take it to extremes and actually damage their image and career. Follow her quick tips for creating a work wardrobe that is a career asset, not a liability.
Dressing for Success at Work
Keep it simple. Less is more when it comes to perfume and jewelry at work.
Don’t go too casual.
Know your office culture.
Know your personal style but avoid being too trendy.
It is better to be more formal rather than less formal than the rest of the office.
Depending on your office, consider classics, such as a nice blazer, even in a fun color.
Shop for items that go together.
Set out your outfits for the next day or entire work week the night before to get ready quickly.
Take your cue in how to dress from your boss.
by Ann Griffith