Dressing for Success

So you’ve landed an interview for your dream job, or maybe you’re just looking to revitalize your professional wardrobe. According to a recent Forbes article, you only have seven seconds to make a killer first impression, so you want to make sure you’re making the most of those seconds when it comes to dressing for success.

A general rule for interview attire is to wear a classic, conservative suit in a solid neutral (tan, navy, black or gray) with a solid, color-coordinated blouse. If you’re wearing a skirt, your legs should be covered, so light or tan pantyhose are a safe bet. I understand that not all of us were raised in the same way I was, but please take note of the advice presented here. You’ll need it!

Shoes and accessories say a lot, but don’t overdo it! If you’re uncomfortable in your shoes, your uneasiness will show, so go with heels that are no higher than three inches or wear polished flats. Make sure your jewelry isn’t too flashy—you don’t want to distract from the image you’re trying to convey. The same goes for makeup, perfume, and hair.

When you preparing for an interview, pay close attention to the office environment so you’ll have a better idea of what to wear on your first day. Make sure you’ve got clean shaven legs and it is usually better to overdress than to underdress, but if you’re too dressy, you might look stuffy to your coworkers.

If your office is more casual, then you have more options, but that also means you have more opportunities to project the wrong look. Start with the suit and gradually dress it down—trade the suit pants for more casual slacks or skirt, or swap out the jacket with a more casual top. Keep hems of dresses and skirts close to the knees and make sure necklines aren’t too revealing.

No matter what you’re wearing, make sure it fits well. A good tailor can be your best friend when it comes to dressing. When you’re shopping for the perfect suit, don’t buy something just because it’s a great deal or a designer product. It should be flattering and work for your body. That means hemming pants and buying shirts with the right sleeve lengths. Show the world that you care enough about making a good impression to spend some time polishing your look! There are also many websites with a lot of great advise that might work very well for you.

If you’re not ready to take the plunge with a new wardrobe, there are sites like Rent the Runway that let you rent designer clothing for big moments. You select the items you want, choose a rental date, keep the items for 4–8 days, and then return them through the mail. You get two different sizes of whatever you’re renting to make sure you get the right fit. Their “Career Moments” section has plenty of made-for-the-office dresses. Be also aware that if you want to work with a nonprofit, they’ll want to know if you ever donated any money and if you did that in a healthy way. In this sort of instances, dress accordingly!

You can turn “dressing for success” into a social activity with new fashion community sites like Polyvore, which let you mix and match pieces from all around the fashion world. Once you design an outfit, you can share it with your Polyvore followers or existing networks on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest to see what your friends have to say about your new look!