GETTING STARTED FOR A CORPORATE CAREER?
LIKE MOST PRESENTATIONS, IT’S ALL IN THE WRAPPING!
The most fun I have shopping, is when I am requested to render help to new entrants to the corporate world and those who start professional careers. Getting your wardrobe started for a serious career is not something that should be taken lightly, at least not once you develop awareness of the importance of presentation of personal branding and marketing. Since YOU are your single biggest commodity you have to invest in your image by putting your best foot forward in both composure and appearance. If you think that spending so much time considering your appearance thinking and deliberating about wearing the right clothes is not important or vein, think again. Just imagine how you would respond if you went to your doctor and he was dressed like a clown. Like I've said many times before, if you want to be taken seriously, dress accordingly! I would like to share a few notes which may be used as a framework for planning a corporate wardrobe.
Here they are:
In need of sources or advice about how to dress and what not to wear in an office or corporate environment?
Golden rule number 1: act accordingly and dress the part!
My motto is that unless you want people to laugh at you, don’t dress like a clown. Ever seen people' faces when a street artist mimes the behaviour of a clown? If his object is to make you laugh, he is likely to be dressed in a clown suit.
If you want to be taken seriously, dress for the part and work your way up the corporate ladder with conviction as opposed to using revealing necklines or excessively short skirts.
A women in a corporate suit always commands respect and allows you to assert authority with dignity, especially in a male dominated environment.
Shoestrings and spaghetti straps belong on the beach, or in a gymnasium. Don’t ever wear it to the office. Unless it is the subject of your sale, thighs and cleavage belong out of sight in the corporate environment. If you think showing to much flesh might benefit you, don’t be offended if males in the workplace have their attention drawn down South instead of focusing on your ability to manage a large corporation.
First impressions count. Now decide what impression you would like to make. Your line of business is the first cue and point of departure. Nobody wants to see a nursery school teacher in high heels and minis, nor do we expect a women in a corporate outfit to be in a flimsy flirtatious dress or casual attire when at work.
Looks are deceiving, so don’t mislead your clients or business associates by creating the wrong impression, if you do so, you loose sight of the object, and you loose the deal.
Grooming for success is as much a part of marketing as the wrapping is to a birthday present. If your voice does not carry well, consult a voice coach or join Toast Masters who teach you how to speak with confidence and in a manner towards creating a captive audience. Remember, practice makes perfect, so if you are a young lawyer, nothing gives you more exposure than trial work where you have to address a presiding officer and conduct oral inquiries and present argument in full view of an audience!
Dress for success. If your aim is to retire as the CEO of an organization or as a senior partner, rehearse for the part in the right costume, the right attitude and perfected tone of voice!
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so give it some thought before you venture out in your new heels!
The way you present yourself, is the way you will be considered.
Although not all office environments require formal attire, some professions like law and finance do require more formal styles commanding more authority, with Navy Blue and Black being the primary colours for being taken serious and allowing you to blend into the environment and to meet expectations.
The human race can be brutal. People have pre-conceived ideas of what you should look like in the corporate environment. Don’t take this lightly, unless you don’t consider your future in the organization as important.
Never under estimate the power of dressing for success. It’s one of your major marketing tools. If all else fails, buy a pin striped suit in Black, kit yourself out with a pair of stiletto heels, and get yourself a copy of Simon Rademan's "The Style Bible" available at big bookstores across South Africa. Now all you have to do is take to the chairlady's seat......
A few blogs to consider:
Where to shop for corporate office wear in South Africa:
1. Jo Borkett;
2. Jenni Button;
3. Studio W at Woolworths;
8. Daniel Hechter at Truworths;
Just in case you wondered if I abolished make up for the career look, it was not intentional! This is my "don't mess with me" look.....
Pin Stripe Blazer - Jo Borkett (old)
Skirt - Country Road
Boots - Witchery