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Modern Female Business Wardrobe: Where to Start? And Why Bother?

Dressing for work. Why bother if what matters the most at the workplace is expertise?

It is true that at the end of the day you will be measured based on your competence, you are right here. But at the start of this very same day, we all need to make first impressions that count more than we would like them to.

HALO EFFECT

Before we move on, have you ever heard of the Halo Effect

A Halo Effect is a cognitive bias that makes us favorably judge someone’s abilities, qualities, and character if we find an individual attractive, well-groomed, and properly attired. 

Basically, if the recruiter, a potential client, or a business partner likes your appearance, the Halo Effect would push him or her to think that you are more qualified, more successful, and good to do business with. And vice versa: if your outfit is not adequate for the occasion and is perceived poorly, it may create a feeling of mistrust and complicate communication.

Research shows that there are only 7 seconds to make the desired first impression, some research even states that there is only a tenth of a second. How much do you believe you will be able to say in this sparse time? Not too much. I am not a fan of judging a book by its cover, but I am a fan of using all possible leverages to your advantage.

So if you are in my club and you are ready to make your wardrobe work for you and your business goals, read further.

WHERE TO START?

Appropriateness.

Consider the workplace, industry, city, and country you are working in. And dress appropriately. 

E.g. If you are going to work or working in a Berlin start-up a sheath dress would be too much for both an interview and the office. 

However, if you are not sure about the spoken or unspoken dress code of a company it is always better to dress up than dress down. No one would like to be a person in jeans and a t-shirt when everyone is dressed in evening gowns (if you are not Steve Jobs).

Modern Attire.

When we see people dressed in modern clothes and silhouettes, the Halo Effect is at work and we perceive them as more progressive and open-minded. Outdated fashion silently indicates that the person is hopelessly stuck in the past and is not following the Zeitgeist. Would you like to work with such a person? Or buy something from this person? 

Attached you will find examples of outfits that are out of long-term fashion, their modern alternatives, and comments.

PS. Do not be afraid to wear clothes that aren’t tight. Let go of the tight fit, you will appreciate the comfort and look much more modern and professional.

Good Fit. 

Wear clothes that fit you well. Tailoring is available in every city. Even if you bought your piece in the mass market you can still tailor it to yourself, there is no shame in that. 

It is painful when our size changes from S to M or M to L or more. I am in your club and have gone through it too. I know it hurts and it is hard to accept. But everyone, literally everyone, looks better in their size of clothing. Small clothes wrinkle, make you look like you cannot afford new ones, and… visually add extra kilos on top. So, if you are trying to fit yourself into your old clothes that are a tick too small: please STOP. Buy your current size, it is much more comfortable to sit and work in pants that allow you to breathe.

IN A NUTSHELL

  • Dress wisely for these first 7 seconds and get better chances of being hired, making a sale, partnering up, or signing a contract. 
  • Always keep appropriateness in mind. 
  • Forget about the clothes people wore to the office in 2012, it is almost 2023. Are you still using the iPhone 4S? If not, it is time to freshen up your style.
  • Choose clothes that fit you well. Tailor them if needed and wear your actual size.

Author

Aleksandra Chumachenko

Personal Shopper & Image Consultant. ELLE Education certified Stylist & Visual Merchandiser

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