I am being considered for a promotion and would like to upgrade my wardrobe, but don’t know where to begin. We are a business casual company. Do you have any suggestions?
The woman who wanted this information was wise to consider her wardrobe as part of her career development. Clothing can help you create the look of a credible and competent professional. Harvard Business School professor Laura Morgan Roberts said, “If you are not managing your professional image, someone else is.”
Here are five ways for both men and women to upgrade their wardrobes as they advance in their careers.
• Analyze the clothing choices of the individual who currently holds your next-level position. What type of clothing does he or she wear? Do you think this person has a more professional appearance than you? If so, you’ll want to improve your wardrobe.
• Look at what higher-level professionals in your organization are wearing. You can usually model your clothing after them.
• Establish a relationship with an experienced personal shopper or sales person at a good clothing store. Explain what you wear to work now and that you would like to move your clothing up a notch. You can also work with a career coach.
• Start wearing a jacket, sweater or vest. These items provide a second layer and refine your appearance.
• Increase the amount of money you spend on your clothing. Spending more money on clothing will not automatically improve your wardrobe, but often more-expensive items are better quality, and that translates to an upgraded image for you.
Also, remember that your clothing needs to fit properly. If an item is too big or too small, it’s not going to project a professional appearance.
Additional information about dress can be found in my book, NewRules@ Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools and Techniques To Get Ahead and Stay Ahead http://www.pachter.com/resource_materials.htm