Think back to when you were interviewed for your current role or you had that first meeting with a potential client. What did you wear?
I bet you remember because you had spent some time thinking about it. You wanted to impress your prospective employer or client because you knew you would only get one chance to make a great first impression.
Why did you want to look polished? It’s probably because you know that having a professional image matters a great deal at work. You wanted to stand out from other candidates, to be remembered and be seen as someone who would fit in at the company you were interviewing for and your prospective colleagues and clients would respect.
Now, fast forward a few years. What do you wear to work now? Are you still making the same effort you did for your interview or do you now dress for comfort rather than professional impact? Do you adapt your style for formal meetings and semi-formal training days or do you default to the same old outfits? Has your work wardrobe stayed the same through-out your role with no updates?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be that your image is no longer commanding respect and at worse, it’s harming your chances of getting a promotion at work. Regardless of your career or office dress code, you are paid to maintain a professional image at work. Contrary to what you may believe, office dress codes can be quite strict and you don’t always have the option to wear what you like to work and that includes your grooming practises. This means that every day when you come to work, your image should be at or above your company’s expected standards.
Here are five common mistakes that you could be making with their workwear:
You are stuck in a rut with your workwear
There are many reasons why you may be in a style rut. It could be that you have lost our sense of style, you haven’t upgraded your wardrobe in years or shopping feels like a chore so you avoid it. Maybe you have changed careers so your old wardrobe is no longer working for you. Whatever the reason, if you don’t look the part and your image isn’t commanding respect, then it may be harming your career progression.
You are failing to adapt your workwear for different work situations
We live in a multi-functioning world and today’s workplace is no different. You are expected to perform different tasks at work in a variety of formal and semi-formal scenarios. You may need to look professional day to day and in meetings but you can be semi-formal during training days or when you are giving presentations. If you don’t how to put together different types of outfits using your existing clothes or you lack the variety in your wardrobe to do so, you may not be using every available opportunity to impress.
You failing to dress for the job you want
When you are going for a promotion at work, you are not only going after more responsibility and money but you will also be dealing with staff members and clients at a much higher level. As a result, you will need to portray a more senior image. If you haven’t upgraded your workwear in years, it may be difficult for your employer to see your image commanding respect in a more senior role.
Your workwear is outdated
You don’t have to follow fashion trends but you need to refresh your wardrobe regularly. Finding a signature style that works for you and is modern, classic and chic doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a conscious effort that takes place over time and needs a regular check-up. That is why a seasonal or annual wardrobe detox is essential. You can see what still works, what doesn’t and refresh your wardrobe with new pieces. This is essential to keep your style updated because clothes that you were wearing 3 or 4 years ago may no longer fit the image you want now.
You failing to impress at work functions and networking events
Work doesn’t only take place during office hours and just because you are out of the office doesn’t mean dress standards should slip. When you attend work functions and networking events relating to your job, you are still representing yourself and your company. You may not need to be as formal but you still need to look professional even though the atmosphere is more relaxed.
About the author
Esohe Ebohon is a London- based Personal Stylist. She helps professional women transform their corporate style and create an image that is classic, timeless and chic. She believes corporate women don’t have to default to dark suits and fade into the background at work and helps them create a signature style that will stand out in male-dominated conservative offices.