• What. When. WEAR: decoding dress in the modern work world.

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    If you’re reading this you’ve probably suffered the indignity of standing, staring, longingly into your closet for the perfect outfit to appear, while the clock steadily, with increasing insistency, ticks away the moments toward tardiness.  Now, not only are you going to be late, but you’re not at all sure you’re attire will be appropriate for the work situation in which you find your current, naked self.

    If I’m being entirely honest, there is a part of me that longs for the simplicity of a uniform, not exactly like the one I wore when I waited tables all those years ago at Thompson’s Clam Bar, more like what the Chanel Staff wear – a simple black pencil skirt, a black cashmere sweater, a crisp white button down with a Peter Pan Color, sheer stocking, black Chanel pump – maybe a pearl drop earring and a dab of perfume.  Done.  No thinking, just grabbing off the rack from a line of pristine, uniform, simplicity. 

    I accept I am not a super chic Chanel Salesperson, and therefore do have to put some thought in what to wear each day.  My role in the construction firm, while primarily internal operations, certainly takes me to the site on a regular basis.  My love of fashion has largely dictated what I choose to wear, and that includes my high heels.  For me, they are a boost of confidence, allowing me to stand tall among my male counterparts.  Not everyone need push the edge of this world with the same fashion statement, but I implore you to make a statement nonetheless.  And the statement I want you to make is a positive one.

    So…since I’ve been chattering on about Coco, I’d like you to take to heart her inspired words:

    “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

    This is super important.  While you should always consider the culture of an organization when dressing, you can follow the letter of the law to a tee and still look sloppy, wrinkled, and not at all put together. 

    Regardless of your budget your work clothes should always adhere to a few simple rules:

    -          Clean – stain free
    -          Pressed – free of holes or rips
    -          Tailored (meaning a perfect fit – not too tight, too short, too big)
    -          Age appropriate
    -          Undergarments should remain under your clothing
    -          Cover your midriff
    -          And I beg you not to show too much cleavage!

    Please note that there is still plenty of room within these guidelines to express your individual style.  In the end you want to be remembered for your expertise and the value you bring to your company – weather that’s in the field, on the street, or behind the desk, you are representing them.  The image that you present through your clothing, grooming, and speech WILL get you noticed.  Make sure it’s in the best possible way.
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