In the corporate world, you are expected to look smart and professional. We are paid on not only our performance, but the perception of how great we are. However, some women have forgotten the rules that often lead to sloppy, too relaxed, and casual work outfits. If you present a more professional and successful appearance, and you do a great job, doors will open for you and positions of power will be offered to you. Though it all depends on what is appropriate for your industry and workplace, keep on reading what your outfits are communicating to your colleagues and boss.
- Go for structured clothes that look smart.
If you’re working in a conservative office, the structure of your blazer, coat, collared shirt, skirt, and tailored trousers tell the world you mean business. It also says that you are responsible, organized, and successful. On the other hand, if you don’t work in a formal environment, you don’t have to wear a traditional suit, but think of wearing clothes that have similar properties for a smart appearance. On your Casual Friday, just make the fabrics less structured and more relaxed and comfortable.
- Opt for darker colors that look more professional.
While darker colors are more professional, high contrast light and dark together says authority. However, avoid wearing all over lighter colors in a conservative office that will only take away some of your personal power. Before wearing colors, think about what they subliminally tell everyone about you. As a general rule, bright colors with dark colors say that you are dynamic and not afraid of being seen.
- Select work-appropriate prints that look powerful.
Stripes and geometrics are a masculine pattern and are seen as more powerful and professional. On the other hand, floral and spots are a feminine pattern and seen as more nurturing and less ambitious. On a creative workplace, abstract prints are creative. However, animal prints like leopard, snake, and zebra are more dramatic, which can be fine if you work in a creative environment, but not so appropriate in a conservative setting.
- Quality is about fit, fabric, and construction.
Good quality fabrics in designs that fit and flatter your body will make you look higher quality. This includes a well-constructed garment without loose threads, hanging buttons, and hems half undone. Remember, if you want that promotion, it’s time to take a good hard look at what you wear to work and the messages it sends. If your clothing looks cheap, your boss and colleagues will assume you’ll do a poor quality job as you do not look like you care about quality.
- Pay attention to shoes and accessories.
If you wish to wear accessories, keep in mind that smaller more discreet metal based jewelry is seen as more classic and professional. On the other hand, larger, sparkly, or colorful jewelry say fun. However, noisy, jangly, or clunky jewelry can be distracting. Also, you have to opt for slimmer shoes made from leather and finer details which are more professional. Skip thick soles and chunky shoes which can lower the level of refinement on your look. There is always a balance between expressing our personality through clothing, and toeing the dress code line. However, if you can learn how to express your personality through your clothes while staying appropriate at work, you’ll look more successful and professional.