Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A New Look for a New Year

When it comes to building an inexpensive, professional wardrobe, employ these simple tips, and career doors will open. You will be ready to take on the world — in person or virtually.

One key ingredient to success is looking the part. Ideally, you will comport yourself with confidence, have good posture, and an appealing and appropriate appearance. The good news is, you do not need to blow your entire budget on your work wardrobe. Here are a few simple rules to live by. If you follow these, you'll be perfectly polished every time. 

Establish your style: 

First, you need to establish your style. No sweats, yoga pants or loungewear allowed, unless those are the fields you are in. Keep in mind what type of business you are representing. You need to decide on a style that suits your budget, lifestyle, and is appropriate for your industry. 

For example, if you are a female working in a predominantly male industry, your attire should say, “Here I am. Take me seriously, I know what I'm doing.” It does not have to be too feminine, nor too masculine.

If you are in a creative field, you likely have the flexibility to be more creative with your wardrobe. While you want to remain authentic, keep your style creative, yet be respectful of your employer, and dress within accepted expectations.

Choose a color palette: 

Which color palette works best for you? If you're not sure, ask personal stylist or color consultant. A good color consultant should be able to show you the subtle changes different colors can make in your appearance. You can also ask family and friends for their opinions, or take a few pictures of yourself in different colors. Once you decide, be loyal to that palette when shopping. Being true-blue to your palette will be flattering and make mixing and matching a limited wardrobe easier. 

Make sure that whatever you wear is neat, clean, and well pressed. It will make a difference and can elevate a relatively ordinary blouse or skirt to extraordinary. Also, being well-groomed shows the world that you respect whomever you are meeting and yourself.

Shop smart:

You do not need to have a lot of expensive clothes to be well dressed. If you shop smart, you won't have to spend much, nor do you need a ton of clothes. Shop the big sales at your favorite shops. You can usually find the best buys “off-season.” Investigate good consignment shops and discount stores. It will be easy to find options near you if you search online. Also, consider supporting local shops. Make friends with the salespeople, and once you have established a friendly relationship, ask the clerk to keep an eye out for you for good sales based on things you’ve bought in the past.

Also, when you shop, stick to your color palette and style. When you do, you can work very well with a limited wardrobe, and expand the perception of the size of your wardrobe by mixing and matching. You can easily change a look by adding jewelry, scarves, boots, or a cute hat.

Consider your virtual wardrobe: 

Finally, today’s smart shopper will keep a virtual presence in mind when spending precious funds. These days, most of us are living at least partially in a virtual world, both professionally and socially. Therefore, refining your virtual appearance is just as important as your in-person appearance. Make an effort to keep your online presence as put-together as it is in-person. This signals that you respect the people you interact with online as well as yourself.

There are some things to consider when deciding what to wear in the virtual world. Some colors, like white, may not come across well. T
ake a few screenshots to see how you look. Do you blend in with your background, or do you stand out? Skinny stripes and busy patterns are a poor choice for virtual meetings; they can “crawl” and be a distraction to others in the forum.

Don't spend the bulk of your budget on great tops. We will meet again in person, and you want your whole wardrobe to be presentable. If all of the pieces of a line you like are reduced in price, get as many matching pieces as possible for your budget at the same time. That way, all of the pieces should be from the same dye lots.

Our newest contributor, Heidi Dulebohn is an international cultural consultant and etiquette expert. A coach for emerging and established leaders, she specializes in building advanced level soft skills like emotional intelligence, cultural competence and executive presence. She can be reached at heididulebohn.com

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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