Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dress For SUCCESS - Brief Article

Dress For SUCCESS - Brief Article

UNLIKE decades past, women working in corporate America do not wear string ties and buttoned-up collars. Nor do you see many in mid-calf skirts. Yet, the concept of dressing for success is just as pertinent today as it was 10 to 20 years ago, perhaps even more so because the work world is more competitive. The new millennium-working woman must find a way to get ahead of her counterparts--male and female--at other companies, but also within her own place of employment.

Knowledge, skill and the ability to finesse corporate politics are instrumental, but one's image and appearance also continue to be key factors in moving up in corporate America. If you want to achieve success, you must look successful. You must present an image of competence, self-confidence and professionalism.

For women, as for men, power suits still signal business. For thousands of female office workers, the smart business suit is still an important career asset. In recent years, actually for the past decade, the trend has been toward "business casual." Yet, the term "business casual" means different things to different people, and it certainly takes on different connotations depending on your profession and your particular employer.

A secretary or administrative assistant is not held to the same standard as the vice president of human resources or the director of finance at a Fortune 500 company. And it should be noted that it is part of the business culture for employees--even executives--in advertising, media, entertainment and other creative fields to dress more casually than those in, say, banking and finance. When you must interact with the public, clients and business associates--in addition to your boss and other company executives--then your appearance certainly should take on a more professional polish.

For the smart working woman, it is better to err on the conservative side rather than make the mistake of dressing too casually. That is the philosophy of Althea Dorey, a diversity specialist in the Global Diversity Leadership Department of Pitney Bowes Inc. in Washington, D.C. "In my profession, people generally dress in business suits, slacks, skirts and dresses," says Dorey. "I think of myself as more conservative rather than overly stylish. I like to dress fashionably, never `faddish.' And comfort is definitely important. Feminine, body-conscious clothing doesn't need to be uncomfortable."

Dorey says that even though "business casual" appears to be well entrenched in corporate America, women who want to get ahead must "keep in mind that the [business casual] look is still polished and professional ... Always ensure that your attire is neat, clean, fits well and is representative of the image your corporation wishes to project.

"An example of business casual in my office," Dorey continues, "is a pair of slacks, a sweater set and loafers or knee-length skirt, V-neck pullover and sling-back shoes. Being neat, appropriate and business-like is key." She adds that hosiery is still the standard for office were, but it is not necessary in summer months, especially with slacks.

When building a wardrobe for corporate America, Dorey suggests that women stick with clean-cut lines. "Nothing says a woman is more put together than a nicely shaped, well-fitting suit or outfit," she says. Basic colors also are important. "Bright colors are nice occasionally, but in corporate America, black, navy and earth tones are safest. If color is important, accessorize with a brightly colored scarf, pin or blouse under a suit."

Because her job requires her to travel frequently, Dorey tries to select clothing that travel with ease. "The last thing I want to do after a four-hour flight is iron!" she says. "Choose fabrics that travel well and wrinkle minimally. I particularly like fabrics that can be smoothed out with shower steam."

Dorey echoes other successful professional women when she offers her list of business-attire "don'ts." "Never wear blue jeans!" she says. "Denim is never appropriate in corporate America. Never wear shorts, miniskirts or low-cut blouses. Missing buttons, holes and tears in the fabric also are unacceptable."

By using common sense and exercising good judgement, dressing for success can be easy for today's working woman. Says Dorey: "No matter what your attire, if you exude confidence and pride and you conduct yourself in the most professional manner, you will be a success."


Jessy Khan said...

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