Dress for Success
Fashion and clothing blogs not for you? Don’t worry. If you want to dress for success, keep reading. This is not your typical “what pantsuit looks best on you” piece. We’re not going to get into colors and patterns, one button vs. two, or whether you must wear sensible pumps every day. Every office will have their own rules, which you should stick to. It’s about being a team player, being professional, and standing out for your work, not your T-shirts.
Every workplace is different, so me guessing what you should wear in your specific office or profession is silly. Plus, what is “business casual” anyway? Is that my fancy sweatpants or my slouchy pencil skirt? It’s such a vague, nebulous concept, that it’s a much better idea to dress with these rules in mind:
Dress for the job you want
Think about how the boss dresses. Got that? He or she is at the apex of the pecking order, so your first port of call for appropriate attire should be him or her. This does not mean cut, copy and paste their wardrobe (even if you can afford it!) But it does mean to take cues from them on the higher end of what’s expected in terms of workplace apparel. Plus, there’s always the element of “dressing like a boss”- and isn’t that really the ultimate goal?
Dress for your parole officer
Oh, you’ve never been arrested? That’s not only okay, that’s great! Simply dress to make a good impression. Cover any big tattoos, shower everyday, brush your hair, take out some of your piercings and leave the revealing clothes for after 5PM. Show the people you work with that you understand that the workplace is a place for work, and not for self-expression, unless of course you’re a creative and that’s what you’re paid for.
Dress to fit in
If you’re rolling your eyes because you see yourself as a non-conformist who hates being confined, it may be that a traditional workplace environment is not for you, and that is totally okay. But if you’re in a corporate environment, and open to playing along for the purpose of getting ahead, it’s some food for thought. As previously mentioned, it’s a much better look to be “Amy, that creative genius” rather than “Amy, that girl whose upper thigh viper tattoo is barely covered by her miniskirts.” Why be the subject of needless office gossip or a distraction from the natural flow of the workplace? It is always best to stand out- but for the right reasons.
Dress like you’re just not sure…until you are- Just like learning where the best after work happy hour is, how to work the office coffee machine and which coworker has the best snacks hiding in his/her desk- learning the tone and mood of the office’s attire is a process. You may come in the first day and realize you are way over/under-dressed and that’s okay. Over time, try to pick up on what fits the vibe of the office and adjust accordingly. You probably won’t get it right immediately, but utilize the learning curve to find your happy place.
And cheesy as it sounds, a positive attitude and a friendly smile is perfectly acceptable attire in every office- so wear them both every day!