Leave Your Hoodie at Home…and other notes on office outfits.
You are not Mark Zuckerberg. If you are on the brink of creating the next Facebook, you can stop reading this now, but for most of you out there, it’s time to listen up. Since you are a part of the working world, you must officially pack up your hoodie. (Take a deep breath if needed.) Let’s face it, it is not easy to get up in the morning, make breakfast, gulp down coffee, get the dogs fed, catch the day’s news headlines, put on a slammin’ outfit and close the door behind you by 7:45am. You may sit and look at longingly at the hoodie everyday thinking how you could just throw it on and walk out the door in an instant. The time has come, however, to start dressing to impress.
Ugh! No! Awful!
It’s really not that hard (promise) and here are a few steps to make the process a bit easier.
Step 1: Think about how you want people to perceive you and work from there. Are you meeting with an up and coming artist who’s into the hipster scene and planning to start a coffee shop? If so, then a suit probably isn’t going to be your choice of attire for the day. Think about going upscale, while keeping a casual vibe, like skinny jeans and a blazer for girls, and perhaps a button down without a tie for the guys. Meeting with a client that loves fashion and high-end lunches? Dress up a bit and go the extra mile when you see them. How amazing would it be to start off the conversation with a compliment on what you have on? Talk about an icebreaker. Look at your schedule ahead of time and plan for your day.
Step 2: Give yourself a once over in a full-length mirror before you walk out the door. Dressing to impress usually excludes things like short skirts, low cut tops and a few too many buttons unbuttoned (well unless you’re working the street corner, but we’ll say for now, that’s not really where your ideal clients are). Remember when your mom would look at you in high school, raise an eyebrow and say, “That’s what you are wearing?” If there is even an inkling of your mother’s voice in your head when you look in the mirror in the morning, change immediately. This also goes for clothes that are too casual, too loud, and too “I wore this last night and just woke up”.
Step 3: Still remain true to yourself. Just because you have to think about looking sharp at the office doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself to ugly suits and boring blazers for the rest of your working days. Accessories are a great way to show off who you are without going overboard – wear a great animal print scarf to spice up a black suit or put on that bright blood orange/Kelly green/cobalt blue tie with your grey pants to stand out and make an impression. Personal style sends signals to the world about who you are and how you approach life (and what was that hoodie saying, exactly?). It’s time to get excited about dressing with purpose.
While you may think fashion in the workplace sounds like a superficial topic, research has shown that what you wear not only affects others’ opinions of you, but it also affects your own opinion of you. Turns out, dressing for the job you want could actually help motivate you to get the job you want. Don’t worry, your hoodie will understand.