Like history, fashion usually repeats itself. However, we can all agree that some trends are best left in the past—like shoulder pads and mullets for example. Dressing appropriately is a big part of acquiring and maintaining respect and credibility as you progress in your career. Cultivating a wardrobe of professional basics is always a good idea, as is reevaluating whether the way you’re dressing is appropriate for where you are in your career. Here are 5 fashion tips that we think should apply throughout your career:
1. Dress appropriately for your age.
Observe company leaders and other individuals in similar professions to get an idea of whether the way you dress is appropriate and whether it gives the impression you want to convey. Your style should evolve along with your career, so it may be time to update some things in your wardrobe.
2. Keep professional basics in good condition.
You can’t go wrong having a few simple basics in your wardrobe. These items should be modern in style and cut and should be in a timeless color—like black or navy. A few examples of professional wardrobe basics include dress pants, a simple button-down shirt, a blazer, and a pair of dress shoes (like loafers or heels). Fabric can often be the difference between business casual and business professional, so note the difference between fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon, and polyester. Pants made from cotton and pants made from rayon/polyester will have a very different appearance, with the latter typically being much dressier.
3. Wear clothes that fit properly.
We see too many people coming in for interviews in tops and blazers that are at least one size too small. Wearing clothes that fit properly is one of the most important fashion rules you can follow. Don’t let your ego supersede your sense of professionalism. If you love a particular item and it’s just a bit too big or too tight, a tailor can usually alter clothing within about one size and this is a great option—especially for classic wardrobe basics.
4. Dress for the occasion.
Know when to dress up. With many offices going casual these days, people are forgetting how and when to dress up. If your office has casual dress every day, that doesn’t mean you should take advantage of it every day. If you have something unusual on your calendar like a client visit, leadership meeting, or an in-house interview, use that as an opportunity to remind people that you’re serious about your work.
5. Accessorize with Care
The way you accessorize your clothing says a lot about you. We usually say it’s best to keep accessories to a minimum and this means everything from perfume and cologne to jewelry. Accessories like a pair of simple earrings for women, or a pair of cuff links for men can also be a great way to elevate your clothing and make your outfit more polished. However, we still say that when it comes to accessories, less is usually more.
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