Congratulations, you've landed your first job out of school. Now the question is, what are you going to wear? How you dress can go a long way in establishing your professional credibility. But dressing for success is a challenge when you're on an entry-level salary. Don't worry, our fashion school experts have ways to stretch your budget and look like the successful executive you're destined to be.
1. Create the illusion of a huge wardrobe. Even if your closet is pretty bare, there are tricks to looking like a successful clothes horse. Make sure all your shirts are a completely different color or style. The same goes for trousers or skirts. For example, a navy blue shirt will look very close to a black shirt, so don't own both; use the money for a different color. If you own just five shirts and five slacks, that's 25 different looks - as long as each piece is distinct.
2. Choose versatile pieces. Any piece in your wardrobe should be able to match with at least three other pieces. For example, a top that only looks good with one of your skirts is too limiting for your work wardrobe. When something can be paired with multiple items, it expands your wardrobe exponentially.
3. Have a "uniform." Here's a wardrobe trick that helps you present a professional image, especially when you're starting out and don't have too many clothing options. Adopt a signature style and stick with it. It's your "look," and it helps you create an identity in the workplace. In a way, you're using fashion design to differentiate yourself from your co-workers. Just be sure that this signature look is buttoned-up and work-appropriate.
4. The survival of the fittest. A big secret one learns in fashion school is that an inexpensive garment that fits perfectly looks a lot better than an expensive designer piece that is too big or small. And the fact is, most people buying off-the-rack are wearing clothes that don't fit well, particularly when it comes to dressier work clothes like suits. Your secret weapon on your way up the corporate ladder just may be a good tailor. Even if you buy a suit from a second hand store, you can look like a million bucks when the suit fits like a glove.
5. A promotion is in the details. Rather than just relying on big ticket clothing items to give you a professional look, remember the smaller details that are a minimal investment, but still make a huge impact. Women who are masters of accessorizing have always known this. Neckties, jewelry, scarves, even a $5 bottle of shoe polish, can do wonders in boosting your professional image.
By following these fashion tips, you can take the anxiety out of planning your work wardrobe. In fact, what you wear can be an asset that helps you put your best foot forward.