In late September, I was invited to be one of the experts at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Professional Polish event. As a stylist, I work with clients who are in the midst of change. They’re interviewing for a new job, transitioning into a more visible role at their current gig, re-entering the workforce, starting their own business or speaking before an audience. Each client is embarking on a life transition and ready to express the most polished, confident and authentic version of themselves.
And I love helping them do just that. I find wardrobe one of the easiest ways to shift not only how others see you, but more importantly, how you perceive yourself. Here are the five tips I want you to know when dressing for work.
Even though you may think what you wear doesn’t matter … it actually does
So your workplace is very casual, you don’t see clients very often or you work from home. That means you don’t have to pay attention to this professional wardrobe stuff, right? Not exactly. Besides the fact that studies show dressing up a little helps those working from home get into the right mindset, there will be times when you have to step it up in terms of either formality or polish (when you’re meeting with potential funders making a pitch, onstage speaking or attending a networking event).
Nothing is worse than trying to scramble for something to wear the day before you have an important meeting or presentation. Don’t let this be you. Be prepared with a couple of go to ensembles that radiate confidence and competence.
There is opportunity for showing your personality in your work wardrobe
Working in industries with strict dress codes can make you feel a little limited in what you can and cannot wear. This is actually true. However, there’s still hope for injecting a bit of personality into your work wardrobe (perhaps it’s that bit of subversive element in my nature that suggests this).
In the instance that what you wear to work is very different from what you wear outside of work, it may be helpful to create a dual wardrobe that is completely separate. Business on one side, party (or whatever is you do in your free time) on the other.
Neutrals don’t have to be boring
So you don’t like wearing lots of color? That is fine. Neutral based monochromatic looks are actually on trend. To add visual interest to your ensembles, remember to add texture and print to your items, even if you don’t add color. Otherwise, your look can fall a bit flat.
Standing out for the right reasons is a good thing
Some of my clients come to me with reservations about standing out. From an early age, some of us are taught not to call too much attention to ourselves. It may take some time, but using your wardrobe to differentiate yourself from others is not just smart dressing, but actually smart branding. By making intentional choices in your wardrobe, you can enhance and support your professional reputation.
Creating a signature style can be fun and make your life easier
Possessing a signature style is the hallmark of a stylish person. A signature style is essentially a set of aesthetic patterns that worn often enough, become associated with the person wearing them. When my clients find their own signature style, they save time, money and frustration from buying clothes that don’t work for them. My clients also gain the confidence that comes from knowing how to put their best foot forward.
My suite of styling services include the Create Your Signature Style program. In this program, I help clients find the colors, the silhouettes and the statement pieces that make dressing for work and for life much easier and enjoyable. To learn more about the Create Your Signature Style program click here.
Aisha Eady is a writer, stylist and speaker on the topics of social media and fashion. To learn more, visit www.aishaeady.com.