Dress for Success


 


I expect this post might be a tad controversial in that casual attire has become much more accepted in the business world today.  Having worked as an administrative assistant for close to 30 years now, I admit I appreciate that the overall atmosphere of the corporate world has become a bit more flexible these days.  However, it remains imperative that the work we do continues to be top notch and that our demeanor continues to be professional.  And it follows that our appearance, while perhaps slightly less formal, should remain business-like as well.  In fact, during this time of relaxed expectations, dressing for success could be the perfect area of opportunity for you to shine.

As you'll recall, in my former post about Basic Office Expectations, I suggest administrative assistants should model their office attire after their superiors.  A real life phenomenon I have noticed is that when I stop by the local home improvement or grocery store on my way home from work, I am usually inundated with employees (male and female, young and old) asking if they may assist me. I can go into the same stores on a weekend or after having changed out of business attire and will not command the same attention.  I believe this unintentional experiment proves that the more business-like you dress, the greater respect you bring upon yourself and, subsequently, to your business.  While this scenario in no way suggests one person is of greater importance than another, it does suggest that the manner you dress is quite influential when it comes to interacting with the public, potential customers and clients, peers, and superiors.

Dressing for success does not require that you adorn Chanel or Armani.  It would be hypocritical of me, as an administrative assistant myself, to even suggest this is the case as our salaries simply will not support such extravagant attire on a daily basis.  However, it is possible to dress very nicely on an office professional's budget.  By implementing a few of the below tips and tricks you can certainly increase your professional status without greatly increasing your clothing expense.

  • Purchase a couple of high quality basics such as slacks, skirts and suits in neutral and/or dark colors.  Less expensive shirts, blouses, shells, scarves and other accessories can be mixed and matched to these basics to create numerous outfits.

  • Speaking of accessories, keep them simple at work.  If you'd wear them to a nightclub, it is best that you not adorn the 6-inch earrings at the office - even if they do match your new shirt.

  • In turn, avoid 6 inch heels as well.  Instead, purchase appropriate, stylish shoes according to your daily duties.  If you must run from one office to another hand delivering documents, you may wish to invest in one of the new, attractive comfort brands of dress shoes, such as Aerosols or Lifestride. 

  • Buy and wear clothing that fits - including underwear and foundation garments. Wearing clothing that fits well, no matter the size on the inside tag, will give you a slender, put-together appearance versus the tight, stretched look that accompanies outfits that are too small.

  • Mend hems and repair otherwise tattered attire.  Secure loose buttons on jackets and replace heels on shoes.  Change out buttons to give old jackets a new look.  Polish boots and shoes if they have become weathered.

  • Iron wrinkled clothing or invest in a small travel steamer to give your clothing a professional-looking touch-up between trips to the cleaners.

  • And finally, again, pattern your attire closely to that of your superiors.


In conclusion, as many health and fitness programs tout - when you look better, you feel better - your confidence is increased and you command respect and positive attention.  Which, in turn, will offer you added opportunities to develop and display your many other valuable administrative attributes.

From one admin to another,
Cindy

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