Mil­len­ni­als, Here’s How You Can Dress Smarter At Work

ForbesWeekly - - NEWS - BY WES GAY, FORBES CON­TRIB­U­TOR

My so­cial me­dia feeds ex­ploded a few weeks ago with the in­tro­duc­tion of the “male romper.” First de­signed for small chil­dren, it be­came pop­u­lar for women in re­cent years. And now we have one specif­i­cally de­signed for men.

While this fash­ion state­ment likely won’t ap­pear in the modern work­place, it does point to the in­creas­ingly ca­sual na­ture of so­ci­ety. Cul­ture was once far more for­mal; men wore suits to work, at din­ner, and to coach sports.

Re­cent decades have ush­ered in a much more ca­sual style at home and work. Jeans and ten­nis shoes are likely more pop­u­lar in the modern work­place than suits.

For mil­len­ni­als, par­tic­u­larly those who re­cently grad­u­ated, it can be dif­fi­cult to know ex­actly what is ok to wear in a new work en­vi­ron­ment. Mas­ter­ing this tricky part of work is cru­cial for long-term suc­cess.

How can some­one dress in a way that fol­lows com­pany guide­lines, re­flects their per­son­al­ity, and ul­ti­mately pro­motes suc­cess?

“Wardrobe for the work­place is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one,” says Toi Sweeney, Per­sonal Brand­ing & Style Ex­pert and au­thor of the book Se­crets of a

Well Dressed Brand. “The im­por­tant thing to know for sure is that what you wear does mat­ter and can have a tremen­dous im­pact on how well you per­form.”

Sweeney rec­om­mends learn­ing the com­pany dress code as soon as pos­si­ble. Most com­pa­nies cover this in an em­ployee hand­book, so speak with a su­per­vi­sor or HR rep­re­sen­ta­tive to get up­dated in­for­ma­tion.

“Once you know the dress code, be in­ten­tional for the first few weeks. “Re­gard­less of your feel­ing on the dress code,

be a team player. Make sure your closet is stocked with enough items to get you through your first two weeks,” says Sweeney. “You can mix and match the re­main­der of the month. Once you are aware of the dress code think care­fully about how you can in­fuse your per­sonal brand into your wardrobe.”

Hav­ing a per­sonal brand is some­thing com­mon among mil­len­ni­als. Many in­ten­tion­ally cre­ate a style re­flect­ing their per­son­al­ity, mis­sion, and vi­sion, and this style can be seen on every­thing from their wardrobe to a so­cial me­dia feed.

In­fus­ing a per­sonal brand into work­place at­tire can be a smart ca­reer move. “Combine your per­sonal brand with the com­pany brand,” says Sweeney. “You want to stand out and fit in at the same time.”

Sweeney also ad­vises clients to con­sider who they will meet with each day and what im­pres­sion they want to cre­ate. “Wear the right col­ors and sil­hou­ette to con­vey the mes­sage that you want to send,” she notes. “For ex­am­ple, the color blue is the color of trust and re­spon­si­bil­ity, while black is the color of author­ity and power.”

Sweeney also rec­om­mends many prac­ti­cal tips for young pro­fes­sion­als as they build their work­place wardrobe: “Make sure your clothes fit per­fectly. In­vest in smart ac­ces­sories, whether it’s shoes or a nice com­puter bag. Al­ways look pol­ished and pro­fes­sional. Al­ways pre­pare your work out­fit the night be­fore. Stud­ies show that if you dress well, you per­form bet­ter.”

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