Whether its your LinkedIn photo, every day work wear, a presentation to the shareholders, pitching your business to a potential investor or indeed an upcoming job interview, you’re wise to put some thought into what your clothing says about you. And make no mistake, if you neglect to put any thought into what you put on as you head out the door, you send a message just the same.
Caleb Wells, a Visual Consultant with T.M.Lewin; an English heritage brand was kind enough to contact me recently on this very subject. In part, he penned the following…
“As experts in business wear and dressing smart, we have taken it upon ourselves to help professionals understand the standards of dress for different interview and office settings. As you know, dressing for success is imperative. We have recently developed an exclusive infographic on Cracking the Interview Dress Code, helping growing professionals navigate what to wear and when.”
Here is the link which will open the infographic he refers to which I am happy to share with you my readers. Not only is this information pertinent to my readership, it is also a fine example of networking and I encourage this strongly. Have a look.
Now before sharing this here, I took the opportunity to share this with some of the people with whom I work with. I was interested to see if it resonated with them. It was a good fit and good timing actually, as dressing to impress is always a part of the employment workshops I facilitate.
I am happy to report that the infographic has been well received. Some of us are visual learners, and while discussing what’s appropriate and what’s not works for some people, being able see visuals helps many grasp things quickly and accurately.
Now of course there are many who work in occupations where the dress code of the company or the nature of the job doesn’t lend itself to the suggestions in the infographic. The Cook, Valet Attendant, Lab Technician, Child and Youth Worker etc. might all state that their work demands another kind of attire altogether, and I’d agree; so too I suspect would Caleb. However, I think we can all agree – or at least I would hope many of us would agree that the knowledge of what constitutes Business Causal vs. Casual or Formal Business attire is important.
A Cook may not always be a Cook after all, and may one day want to step up his or her game and approach a new employer and want to impress at the first meeting and make a solid impression. That Lab Technician might have to wear the white lab coat on the job, but at the same time they could have functions to attend like conferences where they make a presentation; or similarly applying for employment. A white lab coat is not appropriate attire when you’re granted an interview and want to look your best.
Taking a look at attire, there’s always the question of casual Friday these days as well. If your organization supports casual Friday dress, it’s a good idea to inquire about the standards expected on this particular day. Show up in flip-flops, shorts and a Bermuda shirt and you might be okay or you might be invited to attend a meeting right away with your supervisor. “It’s about your clothes. What were you thinking?” is not a good way to start a conversation if you are on the receiving end.
Is money an issue? Dressing smart doesn’t have to break the bank and you don’t necessarily have to buy your entire wardrobe in one trip which I agree could be crippling. The importance of having some key pieces that you can mix and match to present a different look is excellent advice. Have some grey, black and navy solids on the bottom half of your body and some white or black options on your top half and you’ve made a start.
Depending on your organization and the image they want to convey, you may be able to add splashes of colour which might complement your hair colour or bring out the colour of your eyes. Every so often something I put on draws several positive comments from those I meet, and that information is worthwhile to me. If you experience this as well, you should note that combination; it will give you confidence and improve your delivery and interaction with others as a result.
The other thing I like about passing on this infographic is that while the information is timeless and sensible, it’s also 2017 information; current and up-to-date with the times. It’s a reliable source.
One suggestion I make to you is this. Pick a day when you’re not rushed and make an appointment with a representative of a reputable clothing store. Explain that you’d like to get some clothing suggestions. Many stores with trained professionals are happy to show you how to coordinate your clothing. They can take a shirt, tie, pants and put together a look that sends the message you want. They also have the expertise to work with you over time and transform your look, often alerting you to sales on the things you’re interested in. Having a relationship with your clothier can and does reap its rewards.
Dressing for success never goes out of style and should never be overlooked as not worthy of attention.