You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If you’re not the type to keep up with the latest in fashion, you may put little stock into this sentiment; after all, shouldn’t getting the job you want have more to do with your skills and experience, rather than the way you dress? Yet the truth is that appearances do say a lot about your personality and your future career ambitions. Follow these tips to create a look that will take your career to new heights:
1) Do your homework.
While classic three-piece suits and pencil skirts are ideal for a future as a real estate agent, VP of finance, or corporate CEO, they might appear too formal in other workplace settings, such as a tech office or an art gallery. Take note of the way your industry mentors dress—whether they be celebrities or real life examples—and try to emulate their look in your own personal style. For teachers and tech execs, a tea-length dress, cardigan, and comfortable pair of shoes might do the trick, while printed tops and skirts or a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans might be more appropriate for the aspiring gallerista.
2) Do a test run.
Whether you’re headed to your first interview or an important lunch meeting, nothing is more embarrassing (and potentially disastrous for your image) than falling victim to a wardrobe malfunction. That skirt might look great on the mannequin, but does it ride up your leg when you sit down? How about that shirt fabric—is it see-through in certain lighting? Can you really walk in those heels without falling? Make sure you do a test run of all new items so that there are no hiccups on the big day.
3) Find a good tailor.
While most of us are used to wearing clothes just the way we bought them, having them tailored can make an outfit go from good to sensational. Fitted jackets, jeans, skirts, and dresses will give you an overall more polished and professional look, helping you to climb the corporate ladder long-term. Your tailor should also be your first call if you change sizes, need a hemline adjustment, or have problems with your buttons or zippers; they’ll keep you looking smart and stylish no matter what the catastrophe.
4) Dress your family to look the part.
On occasion, a holiday party or office fundraiser might call for your family to attend the event with you. Under these circumstances, it’s important for your spouse or children to look stylish as well. Urge your hubby to iron his pants and polish his shoes, and shop fine clothes for kids that will make them look dapper.