You have worked hard to achieve the success you have right now. In today’s highly competitive world, paying attention to cultivating an executive wardrobe will accentuate the professional image that supports your objectives. While you know that you get only one chance to make the all-important first impression, it is equally imperative to make every day a day that you look your very best, even if the only interaction ends up around the water cooler. You never know who you are going to run into.
Follow these tips to build an effective executive wardrobe to help you stand out – not stick out.
Know the Environment
Office cultures 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. For example, when working in a conservative office you will find that a suit is a must, while in some offices, a pair of trousers with a sweater is adequate. Keep this in mind when visiting another office that might have a different business dress style than yours. Dress for your audience.
Start With a Closet Audit
When starting to build an effective executive wardrobe, be mindful of what you already have before you make 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 you and is in good condition. Leave trendy clothes for your weekend activities.
Start With Your Core Color
Start with at least one great suit that fits you perfectly, and is in one of your best power colors. For example, black, charcoal or navy blue are excellent core colors to have in your wardrobe.
While the task of getting your closet into “executive shape” may seem daunting, this list will help you find the essential pieces to start with to build your executive wardrobe:
- Two dark suits: Black or Charcoal and Navy (men and women)
- Ladies, one dark skirt that matches a dark jacket
- Two pairs of slacks: Black is safe, followed by grey, navy or shades of brown (men and women)
- Two solid shirts or blouses (not prints/geometric designs) in colors that “pop,” but aren’t distracting (men and women)
- Ladies, two accent-colored shells that would look great under your suit jackets
- A jacket/blazer that is tailored, yet loose (men and women)
- Ladies, a knit shell in one of your best colors
- A pull-over men’s wool sweater or a sweater set for the ladies
When in Doubt, Hire a Professional
Consider hiring an image consultant to work with you to define your professional objectives and help you put together your best possible executive wardrobe.
You are now equipped with the knowledge and information to build a wardrobe that can clearly reflect your high level of professionalism. Remember, you only get one chance to make a positive first impression! You are what you wear; therefore, make great wardrobe choices. Remember, to stand out – not stick out.
Tiffany Nielsen is a public speaker, author and business etiquette and children’s manners expert. She is co-author of the books, The Power of Civility and Incredible Business. Her company, Premier Etiquette, offers corporate and small business workshops, motivational keynote presentations, children’s manners programs, editorial content and private coaching.
© 2013 Tiffany Nielsen | Premier Etiquette. All Rights Reserved.