Are you in a wardrobe rut? Do you find that you wear the same thing, or some variation of the same thing, to work every day? Yes, this is a common problem, particularly for women. In fact, among my clients, wardrobe struggles are one of the primary ways that they sabotage their careers.
I recently started working with a young woman who’s in advertising. One of the first questions I asked her was what she generally wears to the office. She told me that she goes to the gym most mornings and so she often ends up wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt to work.
My jaw dropped when she told me this, but she explained that it’s what everyone does at her office. I asked her how she felt about wearing gym clothes to work every day and she told me she hadn’t thought about it too much. “When I first started working there,” she said, “I dressed up a lot but at some point, I just adopted the dress code I saw everyone else following. Now, I’m on wardrobe auto-pilot.”
Casual Does Not Mean Sloppy
This client sought me out because she was beginning to sense a lapse in her productivity. When she told me what she was wearing every day, I wasn’t surprised. She was going to the office in pajamas! Of course, she didn’t feel like accomplishing anything.
Even in casual corporate cultures such as advertising, tech, and entertainment, if your goal is to get ahead, you should be putting on outfits that communicate “Here I am. I’m a leader.” Not “Here I am. I’m comfortable. And I’d rather be at the gym.”
If your office is casual, you can still step it up a notch without being too formal. Conversely, even if you work in banking or in the legal field, don’t be afraid of adding a great piece of colorful jewelry or a unique tie to your outfit. Standing out is the key to getting ahead.
Leaders Look Like Leaders
I know this is going to hurt some of you to read, but leaders don’t wear jeans and t-shirts unless, through their leadership, they’ve created an entire industry where jeans and t-shirts are acceptable work attire. Steve Jobs didn’t start wearing his uniform of black jeans and sweater until he had perfected a product that everyone in the world wanted. At that point, it didn’t matter how he dressed.
Look at Mark Zuckerberg. As soon as he started meeting with politicians and influencers, he began to dress up. He decided he had aspirations beyond Facebook and he knew he had to take his wardrobe up a notch.
Your Look Communicates Your Power
It’s very simple: when you pay attention to your appearance and your grooming, you send the signal to others that you are powerful. Taking care of the details of your look communicates that you take care of the details of your business and that will win you respect.
It isn’t always easy. If you’re someone who is naturally introverted, the idea of drawing attention to yourself with your wardrobe might be terrifying. But unless you’re willing to look and act the part, even if you have the leadership qualities and skills necessary for advancement, you’re going to be passed over every single time.
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If you’re ready to stop blending in and start standing out, let’s talk! Click HERE to connect with me one-on-one. You can also visit my personal page at MyPrivateStylist.com for information on how a wardrobe overhaul can change your life!