We’ve all heard the phrase ‘dress for success’ and in many regards, when it comes to corporate attire how you dress has a correlation to how people perceive you from a professional standpoint. A 2016 article in the Business Insider Australia noted that ‘the way you dress really does make a difference to your career, how much you earn and how people treat you.’ (Pash, 2016)
Whilst it is important to dress in a Way that resonates with your Target Group, it is even more important for you to find a Style that expresses who you are, what you stand for and how you want People to remember you.
Know yourself, know your Worth
What about standing out from the crowd? How can you set yourself apart from all of the suits and dress shirts? Conversely, you don’t want to be so ‘out there’ that you are no longer taken seriously. How can you find that important balance between expressing who you are in a dull business suit?
"At the end of the day, we're talking about how we package ourselves for success, the role that perception and image play in business. When you feel a certain Way, you portrait a certain Way and that is what resonates (or not) with People around you.”
Finding the right Style that can make you super comfortable and ready to take on the World but it takes some practice and Majella McMahon suggests to ask yourself the following Questions at all Times:
- Does it fit?
- Does it flatter?
- Does it feel good?
As an initial step, take a good long look at your wardrobe. Pick out your favourite work outfits and focus on how you feel when you wear them. What is it about those outfits that make you feel confident and successful?
If you struggle finding Inspiration in your own Wardrobe or still wear Outfits you wore 15 Years ago, use the Beauty of Pinterest to get some Inspirations. Browse Outfits & Styles from People you admire and ask yourself, why you actually admire them and what you like about them. Is it really the Outfit as such or is it the Way they engage with Others, the Way they express themselves when presenting in front of a large Audience, the Way they win Clients over …
Create a Pinterest Board with some Visuals and take them with you when you go shopping or put together your Outfit so you have a clear Idea in Mind and can also use in Stores to get assistance from Staff.
It’s important to consider your own Touch to it though – maybe what’s on your Pinterest board is great from a cut or texture perspective but it’s not the right colour for you. So be open-minded and think about If you were to duplicate those outfits, what changes would you make to add a personal touch and make them more you?
Dressing too feminine, too beautiful, too everything??
Especially Women are often concerned about being too overdressed or dressed in a Way that puts up a Barrier to Peers.
Majella’s view when it comes to being (usually it’s more feeling than being) over or underdress is that everyone deserves to feel beautiful and celebrate ourselves, no matter what Hierarchy, Position or Role they are in. There are however ways to adjust Styling – one or the other way: You can make corporate attire more modern, more sophisticated or less formal and a little more relaxed like choosing different fabrication and textures.
A non-negotiable is a good Fit and Cut that complements your Body Shape, Skin and Hair Colour.
So sticking to similar silhouettes, but mixing it up with fabrics in various colours, textures, prints or patterns is a fun way to be expressive.
When it comes to choosing the right Outfit that suits your Corporate Environment, ask yourself what Role you (want to) play.
One (if not the) most rigid and very conservative Industry is Law where Suits – for both, Men and Women are still the Norm. However, it is about making the right Choices within the Boundaries and choose Cuts and Fabrics that are in line with your Personality whilst still sticking to the (unwritten) Rules.
“Dressing in a credible way, while at the same time expressing your individual style, comfortably and confidently, can help you connect with others,” said Majella.
It may be easy to pull a standard dress suit off the rack, but take the time to review how you can add your own sense of style to the outfit. Adopt a signature piece, a clothing item or piece of jewellery which reflects your non-corporate style will also give you the opportunity to feel confident and make a personal style statement.
Especially when you are in a more corporate World where everyone dresses the same – how can you stand out and express your Strengths?
Nobody remembers the Project that was worked on last Year but People remember the enthusiastic Facilitator who always wore these bold Necklaces (or Shoes, or whatever!)
Finally, play to your strengths. When you try out a few new items or colour, be aware of which ones draw compliments. Add those particular choices into your regular wardrobe and continue to experiment with new fabrics, patterns and colours. Eventually, your own, authentic style will emerge and lead you to success.
And most importantly: