In a world of casual Fridays and Silicon Valley office cultures where employees get to play at work, the shoes your wear to work can overshadow efforts to put your best foot forward. On the one hand, workplaces have begun to embrace personal style and adopt a more casual outlook. On the other hand, there’s no new normal and traditional clothing can seem just that –traditional. While there’s more to your talent than meets the eye, you’ve got to dress the part to succeed at work. Try these tips to combine practical clothing choices with personal style successfully.
Your HR manual may have some workplace style guidelines, so mine them for clues on what to wear. For your first day, wear a professional outfit such as a suit or trousers, a nice blouse and a blazer. This might feel stiff, but you do want to make a good impression. On day one, size up your office mates. Pay attention to how managers dress as well as to what your peer employees wear. Are people wearing color or neutrals? Do women wear the latest fashions? What type of jewelry do your peers wear?
Certain staple pieces never go out of style, so investing in these makes sense. Think cardigans, turtleneck sweaters, pencil skirts and black high heels. By adding traditional basics to your wardrobe, you have a fallback plan for work wear. Consider adding in dresses in neutral colors that fall just above the knee. It can be tempting to pick out the latest style, such as chevron, or the color of the year, emerald green. But will these dresses age well? A trendy color might not be right for all industries, not might it work six months down the road. Investing in neutrals makes good financial sense.
Here’s where you get to showcase personal style and incorporate trends. That basic shift dress? Add a statement necklace to stand out or accent with an emerald scarf to give your look a burst of color. Top the dress with a cardigan to stay warm and try some fashion boots to cover your feet.
When it comes to flair, you’ve got to take the office temperature before you get too creative. You might think that leopard print’s a neutral and it pairs so well with your LBD, but your boss might think it gives clients the wrong impression. Still, incorporating accessories wisely demonstrates that you pay attention to current trends, spend time thinking about your outfit and know how to appear pulled together.
By dressing for the office, you demonstrate that you want to join its corporate culture. More importantly, you can bluff your way to success by looking the part. By looking like that lawyer or stockbroker, you can give yourself the confidence boost you need to let go of fears and doubts and succeed on behalf of your firm or your client. In this, your peers are your allies. If you’re preparing for a board presentation or attending a conference on behalf of work, don’t be afraid to ask a more experience colleague for tips on what to wear.
Lastly, dress for the job you want to have and not the one you have. By putting yourself together, you demonstrate to others that you take work seriously, you believe in yourself and you are a professional. Style alone won’t get you a promotion, but it will pave the way for you to rise to the top through your hard work.
(Avenue Plus Size Cable Stripe Pullover Sweater)
Lindsey Harper Mac is an Indianapolis native with a knack for finding the perfect shoe for any outfit. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves.
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