I have a series of speeches coming up and find that my inner A-type refuses to remain in its hiding place as each event approaches. A competitive nature causes me to obsess over every detail. I have engaged in in-depth discussions on what to wear every day since last week knowing I not only have to be successful, the audience needs to perceive me as successful.
Although I do admire quality clothing, I do not consider myself a fashionista. I am happiest in yoga pants, t-shirt and some fleece jacket. However, I am aware that people are likely perceived based appearances. People can tell at a glance that you are wearing something cheap. This can cause them to perceive you as unsuccessful or your company as low quality. It is not necessarily a conscious decision. A competent person can speak to a packed room yet are bested by someone who was better dressed and practiced more.
Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future. ~ Coco Chanel
It is tough to finance a quality wardrobe when you are just starting out, advancing in your career or in transitioning to something completely new. Consider money spent on a quality wardrobe as in investment in you and your career! If there is little room in your budget for clothing, buy a few high quality foundation pieces that when interchanged, make several outfits. Spend wisely, shop sales and go for standards such as a sport coat and wool pants. Buy a few wool suits in black, navy and grey.
Here are a few wardrobe essentials:
- Purchase good quality suits in basic colors
- Accessorize: Men still sport watches as a status symbol
- Shirts: Crisp, clean and pressed dress shorts look nice! Buy a few and take god care of them. French cuffs are a nice touch!
- Shoes: Find quality, comfortable shoes in brown, black and nude for ladies
To be sure they fit well, have them tailored. Don’t pay expensive department store prices. Take clothing to a reputable local dry cleaner who does fast, excellent work at reasonable prices.