Dressing for success doesn’t stop with the job interview. What you wear can affect how your co-workers and managers treat you and how your boss might perceive you when it’s time for promotion. Here are some things to consider.
Are You Dressing for the Job You Want?
This is a common piece of career advice, but how does someone follow it? It takes a careful eye — you want to stand out subtly, and not make it too obvious. Experts recommend looking at how your manager dresses, and following that lead. Avoid copy-catting and instead look at things such as skirt length, colour palettes, clothing quality and the style of accessories. “You have to really rechannel everything into being open and communicative without crossing boundaries,” says Naomi St. Gregory, director of the clothes closet at the Employment Action Center in Minneapolis. “You don’t know who’s sensitive and who isn’t.”
If the promotion you’re aiming for is a large jump, it can look too obvious if you start dressing in power suits to work in your cubicle. Simply step up your outfits in an understated way to send the message that you’re ready to take on more responsibility. Men can switch from jeans to dress pants, or add a suit coat to dress pants; women can change to more formal outfits.
Experts recommend avoiding anything that can be described as “too” if you are looking for a promotion. Too short, too tight, too old and too flashy are all styles to avoid if you’re hoping to advance. Workers whose style of dress doesn’t quite fit with office culture can be seen as less serious or industrious than their better-dressed peers, and can be passed over or not even considered when it’s time for a promotion.
What About Your Hair, Face and Other Grooming Choices?
Even the classiest suit can’t dress up a trendy or too-young hairstyle, or overdone makeup. Dressing for a promotion includes the whole package, so assess your grooming style and see if it fits your new look. This is especially important if you are applying for a sales promotion or other outside position — your face will serve as the face of the company, and managers will be looking for someone who has the look. Your look doesn’t have to be moribund, though. “Clothing has gotten a lot more fun and creative,” says St. Gregory. “Leopard print is the new neutral” — as long as it falls within other guidelines at your workplace.
Many things can cost you a promotion, but your clothes and grooming are things you can easily change and improve. Following these tips can help you put yourself in a good position when it comes time for a promotion.
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