While everyone knows that you get only one chance to make the all-important first impression, it is equally crucial to make every day one in which you look your very best. Follow these tips to build an effective, attractive wardrobe that will convey confidence and style to those around you.
Know the Environment
Office standards are continually changing. Knowing what is considered appropriate for your office environment will ensure that you do not make any expensive mistakes when building your wardrobe.
Start With a Closet Audit
When starting to build an effective work wardrobe, you need to start by being sure of exactly what you have already before making a list of what you need. Pull out everything in your closet that could possibly be worn to work. Try everything on. Make sure it fits well, looks fantastic on and is in good condition.
Build a Baker’s Dozen
Your goal should be to have thirteen workable outfits in your closet. This means that, by mixing and matching, your shirts, blouses, jackets, skirts and pants can be combined to make at least thirteen outfits that will comprise your wardrobe.
Start With Your Core Color
You should start with at least one great ensemble that fits you perfectly (e.g. suit or mixed separates), and is in one of your neutral core colors. For reference, your core colors are those that are the same as your eyes or hair: black, brown, green, blue, etc.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
Once you put together your shopping list, do not just grab your purse and go. Do some research to see what is out there, looking for sales and calculating a realistic budget for supplementing your existing clothing. When shopping, remember that quality is important and you are going to spend more for it. Leave trendy clothes for your weekend activities and focus on items that will last for at least a few years.
While the task of getting your closet into “professional shape” may seem daunting, this list will help you find the essential pieces needed to create your wardrobe:
- Two dark suits (or casual pants and cardigan) in one of your core neutral colors.
- One dark skirt in one of your core neutral colors.
- Two pairs of slacks in one of your core neutral colors.
- Two solid shirts or blouses (not prints) in your chosen accent color.
- Two accent-colored shells that would look great under your suit jackets.
- A novelty jacket that is tailored, yet loose, in your accent color.
- A knit shell in one of your core neutral colors.
When in Doubt, Look to a Professional Resource Consider the many resources available to you, whether a complimentary online tip sheet, books and magazines, or an image professional who will work with you to define your objectives and help you put together your best possible look.
Do you have fashion questions and dilemmas of your own? It’s easy to ask our Image Consultant Kelly Duggan, just send your questions to Kelly at email@example.com. Be sure to indicate Image Questions in the subject line.
Kelly Duggan is an Image Consultant specializing in executive
and personal image development, etiquette and communication
skills. She is a certified member of the Association
of Image Consultants International. Contact Kelly at: www.