Style your way to success
Dress to impress and keep turning heads once you’ve bagged the job!
meetings, people would try to appeal to my edgy side by being unprofessional,” she recalls. Today she favours leather moto jackets that still reflect her style, but pairs them with sharp, businessowner-worthy heels. After all, she says, “I need to live up to what I am.”
Still stuck? Ask yourself how a movie character in your role would dress. (Personally, I channel Anne Hathaway post-stanley Tucci makeover in The Devil Wears Prada.) Finding a blend between your identity and that cultural image is the sweet spot.
Step 2 Build your wardrobe
“Your essentials will depend on your work-place,” says stylist Sarah Slutsky. “But in my opinion, everyone should have an oversized camel coat, a white silk blouse and burgundy pumps, which are less basic than black, but still match everything.” If your office is formal, add blazers and skirts to the list; if it’s relaxed, basic T-shirts and denim.
And use accessories to bring your look into the here and now. A strong shoe game can update even the most basic separates. Trending right now: point-toe kitten heels and beribboned pumps. “People notice if you have a great pair of shoes on,” says Roopal.
If you’re not a heel fan, you’re not alone. A recent study revealed that the more education women have, the lower the heels they wear. Two of-the-moment options: loafers and square-toe boots.
Step 3 Nail the interview
Job-seeking truth: Yes, the outfit matters. “I read a study once that said people make judgments within 14 seconds of meeting you,” says Toni Thompson, executive director of human resources at Condé Nast. Your look can “show how prepared you are,” she says.
And do your homework. “Be aware of the industry you’re in,” says Toni. “If you’re at a casual start-up, wearing a suit will make you stick out.” In a corporate environment, she advises a black or blue suit. Have a more relaxed job, like teaching? Try trousers and a sweater. At a creative place, show your artistic chops with interesting patterns.
If you’re still not sure what to wear, try these DOS and DON’TS: DO Google the company’s leaders and take note of what they wear; that’s your starting point. DO sit in front of a mirror to check for a too-short skirt or gaping buttons. DO carry a single bag, like a leather tote. DON’T change into heels inside the building. You’ll risk an awkward mid-swap run-in with your interviewer.
Step 4 Dress for a promotion
Now you’ve got the job. How to keep nailing it, fashion wise? “There’s a concept in cognitive behavioural therapy called ‘Act as if’, which means act as if you are what you want to become,” says Dr Jennifer Baumgartner, author of You Are What You Wear (Perseus Books; R287). “What would a person with a promotion wear?” For one thing, perfect fit. No too-baggy trousers or too-tight waists.
And keep looking at those above you for clues. At GLAMOUR I noticed that editors tend to splurge on a few statement skirts or pairs of trousers each season, and wear them with simple tops.
While my wardrobe is nearly all black, I try to incorporate a touch of colour (and yes, I count navy) every day. The only problem? The nothing-looks-good-together mornings that make me almost late for work. My time-saving trick comes from Roopal, who told me, “Have at least five fully styled outfits in your closet ready to go.” Office-worthy looks that are snooze-button-friendly? I’m never turning back!