In most careers, you’ll need to meet a certain dress code, but beyond that, your choice in fashion and overall sense of style has the power to influence how your career develops. In some positions, you may be required to conform to a uniform—veterinary technicians, for example, are usually required to wear scrub-like tops and pants. However, even if you’re pursuing one of these more restrictive careers, your fashion sense can help you improve.
Fashion and Career Advancement
There are a few key areas where your fashion sense can help you shine:
- Meeting new people (and first impressions). First, having a good sense of fashion can help you make better first impressions with new people. When you’re trying to network with people in search of new job opportunities, you can present yourself in a better light. Once you’re in a job, when you’re meeting with new prospects or new clients, you can instantly start your relationship with a better tone.
- Displaying your professionalism. Fashion can also be a way to display your professionalism, and how seriously you take your job. Dressing well within the confines of whatever dress code you’re working with, and still looking your best on a daily basis shows that you care about how you look—and about your job in general.
- Fitting in with the culture. Each workplace will have its own unique culture, based partially on its industry and partially on the unique characteristics of its founders and leaders. Fashion is your opportunity to show that you fit within the culture. For example, if you’re working in a traditional organization that values professionalism above all else, you’ll need to dress much differently than if you’re working for an agile startup that favors creativity and independent thought.
- Personal branding. Depending on how you dress, you can use your fashion sense to demonstrate and/or build your personal brand. Your personal brand is your unique identity, and you can use it to attract new clients, build your reputation, and find new job opportunities. Small touches to your wardrobe, like a specific type of accessory, or certain color combinations, can become your signature, and showcase your personality and individualism.
- Sparking conversations. It’s also possible to use your sense of fashion as a way to start conversations with more people. A unique accessory or piece of clothing can invite new people to engage with you, which is especially valuable at networking events, when you’re trying to meet new people. You can also use this in the context of your workplace; wearing something new or uncharacteristic of you can help you build more connections with your teammates.
Key Strategies to Consider
These strategies will be what help you succeed:
- Get creative within your limits. You may face some hard limits on what you can wear on a daily basis, either because your workplace has a dress code or because you’ll be working with clients outside the organization regularly. Your first priority has to be staying within those limits; if you dress unprofessionally, or in a way that clearly violates a dress code, it’s only going to work against you. However, you can usually get creative within those limits, and find new combinations of clothes that break the norm.
- Emphasize your best qualities. It’s also a good idea to emphasize your best qualities, especially if you’re trying to build your personal brand. One of the best things to do here is invest in custom tailoring, so you can ensure all your clothes fit your body perfectly. You can also go out of your way to choose clothes and accessories that demonstrate your personality.
- Know your audience. Different people will be interested in different things. For example, at a networking event for graphic designers, people will be looking for standout artistic or creative pieces of attire, which can spark a lively discussion. At a formal event, people will be looking for others who are gussied up, but not drawing too much attention to themselves. Get to know your audience, and dress accordingly.
- Change things up. Eventually, you’ll find a pattern that works well for you, both as an individual and in the context of your organization. It might be a color combination, a specific type of outfit, or a set of outfits you wear on rotation. However, if you want to continue impressing people and building your personal brand, it’s a good idea to change things up from time to time. Experiment with something new and see what happens.
The more you invest in your sense of fashion, the more your career can benefit. This may not be your first priority when developing a career, but it can make a substantial impact on your overall development.
Article Submitted By Community Writer