Dress for Success: How to Build a Workplace Wardrobe

Dress for Success: How to Build a Workplace Wardrobe.jpg

How often have you looked in your closet and thought to yourself, “I have nothing to wear!”? I think we’ve all experienced that frustrating moment at one point in our lives. 

What about before an interview, or starting a new job? Have you ever found yourself digging through clothes searching for an old suit that you’re not sure even fits anymore? Navigating the job search process can be complicated enough without having to figure out what to wear. 

Although some companies and industries are shifting to a more informal, relaxed atmosphere, there are still guidelines for how to approach your workplace wardrobe.  If you’re feeling frazzled trying to figure out what attire would be appropriate for a new job or an interview, remember two things: keep it simple, and keep it professional, no matter the industry. 

Here are a few tips for getting your workplace wardrobe set so you can dress for success, and carry a sense of courage and confidence with you: 

Keep it simple:

  • When you’re getting your workplace wardrobe ready, take the guess-work out by doing your homework. Check in with any personal or professional connections that you have in the company to find out how formal the environment is. If you don’t know anyone, hop onto a search engine to see if you can find any company photos on social media or in an image search. Get creative if you have to. Consider swinging by the office to get a feel for the company dress code. 
  • Wear something that will help you feel comfortable and confident. If you constantly have to adjust your clothes while you’re interviewing or working, you’ll undoubtedly distract yourself and others. What you wear does impact how self-conscious you feel, and the more comfortable you are, the more confidence you will exude. Projecting confidence will demonstrate that you’re not only qualified for the position, but you’re also passionate about the opportunity. 

Keep it professional:

  • How you present yourself in an interview or on your first day can have a huge impact on how people perceive you and your level of professionalism. Make sure to start off on the right foot and err on the side of dressing more formally to demonstrate that you take this opportunity seriously.  You can modify your attire after you get a better sense of the company culture. 
  • Keep the focus on your skills as a professional rather than on being trendy or flashy. Go for an outfit that shows your individuality, but that is also appropriate, flattering, and leaves people talking about your skill set rather than your outfit.
  • You don’t need to break the bank to update your work wardrobe. A few basics will set you up for success, from the interview to the first day and beyond: 
    • Both men and women should wear a conservative suit in a solid color (black, navy, or gray), a neat, professional hairstyle, and limited jewelry, cologne or perfume.
    • As for shoes, men should wear dark socks, and both men and women should wear professional shoes. Women – no crazy high stilettos!  Make sure you can walk around the office comfortably.
    • Women should wear a coordinated blouse that fits well, and it’s recommended that men stick to a white, long sleeve button-up shirt with a conservative tie. 

When it comes to job interviews or your first day with a new company, dress for success, regardless of the company dress code. It shows that you’re serious, that you respect the interviewers or your new colleagues, and that this opportunity is important to you. 

As always, I am here to help. Please contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions about this process or if you would like to see posts on any particular subject in the future. If you like what you read today, don't forget to subscribe to this blog below!