Research into business wear has shown that dressing and behaving appropriately in professional settings has many advantages. For example:
- People are more likely to grant your requests
- They are more likely to trust you
- You may be given the opportunity to participate in decision making processes more readily
- Promotions are more likely to be given
- Even your salary could be influenced by how professional you behave
‘Dressing appropriately is part of good manners.’
In Your Personal and Social Life
- Children learn by mimicking what they see, and they become mirror images of their caregivers. If we behave appropriately, our children will reap the rewards.
- Research has shown that dressing well, good posture and good manners contribute to finding a better life partner.
- The saying, ‘Show me your friends, and I will know you’ is so true. We can overcome the obstacles of background and socio-economic circumstances by learning to dress and behave appropriately.
Your Personal Style
Create your own personal style. There is only one of you, and you are unique. Express it!
- Wear clothing which makes you feel comfortable.
- Colours that suit you.
- Wear the best clothing you can afford.
- Do not underestimate the importance of accessories.
- Personal grooming is of cardinal importance.
- Always wear clothes which are clean and ironed…(it I amazing how a simple iron can transform an outfit!
- Wear clothing which suits your figure.
- Wear age appropriate clothing. Avoid dressing up like a recycled Barbie!
- Choose clothing which is appropriate for the occasion. Ask yourself – is this a formal or informal situation?
Gabrielle Chanel better known as Coco, overturned the fashion conventions of her day to create her own unique style. She ‘borrowed’ jackets, shirts, and ties from men’s wear and turned them into stunning clothing for women. Her concept of classic wear is still very highly regarded in today’s highly competitive world of fashion.
Planning Your Wardrobe
- Invest in some basic classical items such as jackets, skirts, tailored trousers, cardigans, designer denims, some white shirts, scarves, good shoes, designer handbags and a formal coat.
These items will form the basis of your wardrobe and are suitable to wear on many different occasions. They are usually quite expensive but can be regarded as a good investment, in the long run.
- Choosing clothes which suit your age, shape, colouring, and personality is always a good idea. Soft flowing garments as well as formally cut clothes can be found in most clothing shops today.
What to Wear in the World of Business
- Dress in accordance with the corporate culture in which you find yourself. Some business environments are far more formal than others, e.g. the IT world favours a style which is more informal than let’s say a lawyers’ firm.
- Some companies prescribe uniforms for their employees, e.g. in banks and hair salons, to ensure that everyone is suitably attired.
- Other more creative environments allow for more individuality and originality in employees’ wardrobes.
- However, don’t ever under-estimate the importance of dressing well!
The writer of Dress for Success, John Malloy, became famous as the world’s first wardrobe engineer. After years of research, he claimed that one can promote oneself by always dressing well. He even claimed that dressing suitably can help us gain promotion beyond what our qualifications equip us for!
A word of advice:
Dressing well inspires confidence, and confidence inspires success!
For many years since women started fighting for the right to own property, to study at university, to participate in elections, and to enter the boardroom, their clothes played their part in holding them back from reaching the top. Clothing inspires confidence, respect and financial success.
Today’s women work hard both at home and in the workplace, and as a result experience more stress than before. In some instances, they still earn less than their male counterparts. This needs to change, and dressing well can contribute to women being taken seriously!
Start dressing the part! Tailored formal clothing is highly regarded in many business environments; not only for men, but also for women. Make use of that knowledge to aid you in your climb up the corporate ladder.
Formal Corporate Culture
- Always look professional in the business environment. Wear a suit with a jacket and trousers or a jacket and skirt, or else wear a skirt and a formal top. On hot days, you can remove the jacket as the blouse or top are also formal in style.
- Stockings or tights are still required in some corporate cultures, especially when you have a high rank such as CEO, are addressing meetings or meeting up with clients. They are always worn with formal shoes.
- A colourful scarf always brightens up an outfit and adds that extra bit of formality, much as a tie does for a man.
- Buy skirts, tops, trousers, jackets, in different colours and styles, so you can mix and match your outfits.
- Designer jeans without tears and bleaching are appropriate for some less formal events such as Casual Fridays.
- A rain coat and umbrella in your closet are good investments.
- Underwear is equally important. Make sure panties and bras fit properly. Some shops have specially trained assistants who can take your measurements and help you make informed choices. Choose colours and styles which won’t show through your clothing and will flatter your figure.
- Beware of overdoing your jewellery. Keep it simple and classic.
- Plain leather bags and purses are appropriate, as are laptop cases.
- Boots for winter and sandals are appropriate in many cases, however, some situations may require stockings and high heel shoes. (Not too high though!)
- Natural and neutral colours such as beiges, greys, blues, greens, browns, and black work well in a corporate environment. Liven it up with colourful scarves and accessories. Find the colours which work best for you!
Remember… you are your message!
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With her warm personality and tangible style, she infects her audiences as she trains and inspires them from her personal life experience as a successful business woman, and entrepreneur.