Our professional brand is created with everything we do, say, and wear.
What we wear matters.
Sloppiness in our attire sends the message that we won’t be crisp in other areas of our lives. This includes visible signs of wear; hanging threads, loose buttons, damaged hems, and wrinkled clothes. Breakout your needle and thread along with the iron gathering dust in the closet, or pay someone to do these tasks for you.
If your favorite dress has a stain that just won’t come out, take a deep breath and toss it in the trash. Your professional brand is worth far more than a single garment.
Just like the Goldilocks said, “Just right” is the key to a great fit.
Don’t kid yourself, if you’ve gained or lost 15 pounds that outfit doesn’t really fit the same way it did when you bought it. Even if the material is stretchy. The result?
Baggy Potato Sack Look
For women rising in their careers, trendy clothes are not your best friends. A few poor choices for the office include:
Lacy bits that look like lingerie
Printed Labels – Especially if they say Pink, Juicy, Couture, etc.… (Yes, I’ve actually seen these in the workplace. I wish I were kidding.)
Other wardrobe faux pas include:
Worn Heels – When the back of one of your heel is worn, it’s time to deposit the pair in the trash bin. I know, shoes are expensive! To protect your investment, never drive in heels. Driving is the number one reason heels become damaged and look worn before their time. Wear a pair of comfortable flats when driving and slip into those fabulous heels when you arrive at the office.
Thigh High Skirts – The hem should be pretty darn close to your knee. If you find yourself tugging at the hem, or holding your skirt against your leg when you’re sitting down and walking up stairs, you aren’t being paranoid. Your skirt is simply too short.
Bra Sightings – A bra should never be seen at work. That includes the bra strap, the cup peeking out when your arm is raised, and wearing sheer tops, or a dark bra with a light colored top.
And while we’re on the topic of bras, a slightly cushioned version can be a girl’s best friend. Offices can be quite chilly… need I say more?
VPL – Visible Panty Line – Either the pants are too darn tight, or the panty doesn’t fit right. Fix one.
Button Strain – If the buttons of your shirt pull, we can see more than we should. Either sew a little snap in place to hold the front of the shirt together, or purchase a larger size.
And ladies, never use cleavage as an accessory at work. This rule extends to professional dinner engagements, holiday parties, and weekend retreats. Keep “the girls” covered.
When it comes to your neckline, your credibility and professional image is dropping right along with it.
Hair & Make-up:
Color your hair? Keep it consistent… root regrowth looks sloppy
Make-up should be of neutral colors. See a professional make-up artist for a color consultation. Most will do this for free.
Nails – Keep them short (just above the fingertip), and if you use polish consider more neutral colors. No chips, breaks, etc.…
Lipstick on teeth – Move to a gloss if this is you
If your office has embraced “Business Casual”, don’t make the mistake of arriving in “Ballpark Saturday Casual”. There is a HUGE difference between the two.
Get clear on the professional brand that will help to achieve your career goals. Then, go thorough your closet and toss the items that don’t fit your brand.