Being the face of your brand doesn’t have to mean a boring wardrobe
The business world is built on brand and reputation, and while your gorgeous logo will certainly attract attention on social media, your own presentability will give potential clients an idea of how serious you take your business. We’ve rounded up some tips to seal the deal when it comes to building your own professional dress code.
Let’s be clear; presentable doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. You can easily look shabby in an expensive outfit or equally so, you can look perfectly groomed without breaking the bank! These tips will help you to get dressed with confidence, knowing that you look the part while you’re representing your business.
When in doubt, dress formally. They say there is no such thing as overdressed and over-educated. When done right, formal is never too much whereas you will easily stand out if you are not dressed formal enough.
Projecting a professional image does not mean you need to be boring. You can go a long way with a basic ensemble and change things up with accessories like scarves, jewellery and shoes. By using accessories to liven up an outfit, you avoid the risk of overdoing it and looking unprofessional.
By investing in classic, high- quality pieces you are giving your wardrobe longevity that will benefit you in the years to come. Beautiful fabrics in classic colours and quality cuts will never go out of style.
Now, on to the more specific guidelines!
Colour within the lines
Stay away from too many colours at one time. Sticking to a colour palette will make it very easy to mix and match items without worrying about clashes. I opt for white, black, grey, blues and burgundy coloured items. If you need to change it up, add a flash of colour to your wardrobe with cardigans and jewellery.
Proportions are paramount
Be deliberate with your proportions. Avoid items that fall in the mid-range (especially bottoms). These include jeans that are too relaxed fit to be skinny and others that are too tight to be a boyfriend cut. These items make your outfit look “lukewarm” and unpolished.
For a professional environment, anything too baggy or too tight-fitting can really leave a bad impression. Leave your super comfy, two sizes too large jersey for Saturday Netflix sessions on the couch. Also, don’t even look at the second-skin skinny jeans that force you to go commando in an effort to avoid the dreaded VPL (visible panty line). You want people to notice your intellectual assets, not your “other assets”.
Same rule applies for anything that is too short or too long. Mini-skirts are usually not appropriate (depending on how they are worn) but what about your dramatic long sleeve shirt with the cascading French lace cuffs? It might also be a bit over the top, especially if it gets in the way of actually doing your job (theatrical lace and keyboards don’t always make comfortable colleagues).
Limit the number of accessories you wear. Coco Chanel was quoted as saying: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. You don’t want to look like a Christmas tree. Leave that for the weekend or girls night.
Keep your shoes polished and stylish. Don’t opt for casual shoes- this is one small detail that can really bring your outfit together. Remember that high heels are not always appropriate and when you do choose to wear heels, stay away from sequined, leopard-print stilettos with huge bows and cartoon characters to top it off. If your shoes speak louder than your resume, you are not doing yourself any favours.
No matter what the fashion magazines say “sports luxe” or athletic wear is almost always out for business attire. Some exceptions may apply, and you should use your judgement in this matter, but for the love of all things fashionable, remember you are not a Kardashian, you most likely cannot pull off wearing sweatpants and heels to a business meeting. Just don’t do it!
Some trends are great for the professional environment, including the masculine trend, minimalism and beautiful winter textures. If you love a specific trend, don’t be afraid to incorporate it, but do so with caution. A neon-coloured ring or silver studded bracelet would be great ways to liven up an outfit. Neon leggings and a biker inspired sleeveless t-shirt on the other hand, not so much!
A good rule: don’t over-invest in trends. They come and go faster than the latest corporate buzz-word and your money is much better spent on timeless pieces that will add to your wardrobe for years to come.
Whether you love dressing formally every day, or you are a jeans and sneakers kind of girl, spending some time on your professional wardrobe will keep you looking ready for business, and will save you money in the long run (by avoiding overspending on trends and replacing lower quality items frequently).
The key lesson to remember is that you as a business owner represent your business and by polishing your own image, you are showing the world that your business is a sound investment. Whether you’re meeting with suppliers or clients you should treat every interaction as an opportunity to network and to increase the influence of your business. When you put effort into your personal image, you’re creating a lasting impression by putting your best foot forward and that’s a strategy that will maximise the impact of your business’ brand image.
Now go and conquer your interactions and tag us in your workday outfit posts! Don’t forget to follow us on social media at the following links:
Ps: We recently joined Pinterest so give us a follow at: https://za.pinterest.com/JackalMediaZA/