Thursday, October 27, 2011

Appropriate Work Wear

I recently spoke to a potential client who was in her early 20's and looking for some help with her image. She said she struggles with finding clothes to fit her body (I hear this from EVERY woman by the way), but she also said one of her main priorities right now is to make a career move and she wants to know how to dress the part.

I hear this from a lot of people. With the "business casual" model within so many workplaces now, it can be confusing because what is business casual to a downtown ad agency is a very different business casual in an insurance office.

So, how do you know what to wear?

Well, when it comes to a first interview, always err on the side of caution, and dress up. It's always better to be over dressed than under dressed - as long as you are appropriate.

And speaking of appropriateness, as I explained to the 20 something I spoke to yesterday - dress your age! Young women dressing too old for their age can have just as much damage on their image as women dressing too young. 

It's okay to show a sense of style, it shows you are current -  which subconsciously (and sometimes consciously, depending on who you are asking) has an effect on how the other person views your skills set - are they current or outdated?

Here, some ideas for a first interview outfit...

This is a great outfit for a young 20 something. Everything is still covered up, the colours aren't too loud, but it is still young and fresh because it is more mix and match (rather than boring "matchy matchy"), and stylish with the accessories and unique jacket.
Perfect for someone older than a 20-something, this outfit shows class and style thanks to the mix of colours, shoe style, and trendy chunky jewellery. Pair with or without a blazer.

* As a side note, there was a recent study done in the U.K. that found that "skirts at work give a better first impression" than pants.

Here's what happened...

In the study, 300 males and females ages 14-67 were asked to make three-second judgments of women in skirts and pantsuits made in the same fabric and color. They rated the women on confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary and flexibility. Turns out the skirts had a major leg up on the competition.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of this, and was recently asked to comment on the study and I said that I feel it really comes down to the quality of the clothing and it's appropriateness. Again, the appropriateness for the position being applied for, and the persons age and personality. What do you think???


  1. This is a very interesting and useful post. I'm always struggling about how to dress for a job interview without looking like I'm ten years older than I am :P

    Be Indie, Be Trendy


  2. Thanks! I am a 20 something that struggles with what to wear to my career-in-mind job. Especially since its such a casual place to work. Every time I put on a suit or really structured blazer, I don't feel like myself! Great post!

  3. Thanks girls - yes, dressing your age is just as important as dressing appropriately!



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