Dress For The Job You Want In The Fashion Industry
The biggest mistake fashion professionals make is not dressing appropriately. It is widely known that, within the design areas, in particular, the dress code is more relaxed. But that doesn’t mean you have to look unprofessional. This is not to say you have to be dressed to the nines every day, but don’t look like you rolled out of bed and decided to come to work. Remember, just because someone doesn’t say something about the way you dress doesn’t mean they’re not thinking it.
Your appearance makes an impression on everyone you come into contact with. That includes your team members, your boss, and higher-ups in the fashion industry. And as much as we like to think our work will speak for itself, the truth is, our daily appearance leaves a much longer lasting impression. Those impressions could be the reason your career is lagging. Don’t believe me? Take a look around your office and compare how your boss and other managers dress. Now, look at how any interns or assistants dress. Where do you want to be?
“It may seem superficial, but clothing makes a statement about who you are and where you want to go,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert, and author who heads up the Protocol School of Palm Beach. She often advises executives who want to polish their image. “Personal style has always played, and still plays, a crucial role in the career trajectories of leaders.” —quoted from Forbes magazine.
What Does Your Appearance Say About You?
Have you ever heard that saying “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.”? It is so true! Your professional appearance says a lot about you. You want to convey to your peers that you are professional, confident, and can handle the job.
Adding some finishing touches to your wardrobe could make the difference between looking casual and looking business casual. First, make sure your hair is neat and looks polished. For women don’t just brush your hair or put it up in a ponytail. Take the time to make your hair look tended to with simple hair does or accessories.
In the fashion industry even if your work environment is jeans driven you can still step it up by adding some statement pieces that make your look more refined like blazers or a dressy shirt. A simple shift dress is great because it can be dressed up or down. Accessories are a great way to dress up a simple look.
Before you walk out that door do a double take in the mirror and ask yourself this question, “If I ran into the CEO/ owner of the company today would they think I was an assistant or a colleague?”
Your Appearance Can Cost You Money
Need another reason to improve your professional image when working in the fashion industry? It’s true. By not dressing professionally, you are affecting how much money you could be making. You could be getting passed over for promotions because you are not seen as a leader. Management might view you as an assistant level. So step up your game!
People will judge you based on how you look. It’s usually unconscious. You could be working side by side with someone and they know your capabilities, and when it comes time for them to recommend someone for a raise or big project they naturally think of someone who regularly gives off the impression of professionalism and authority.
Every day we are giving little flash images to everyone we meet. These half second images accumulate over time in peoples minds to form their overall image of you. So, why not look like you are ready for a promotion every day?
How To Dress Your Brand
If you have ever worked in retail you know that brands usually give huge discounts to employees and mandate that they wear the brand they are selling. They do this because the employees are the first people the customers see when they walk into the store. That is the first impression the customer has of the brand. Your work environment is no different.
In the fashion industry, the impression you give the world is that of your personal brand. That means the way you dress, talk, and behave at work is a reflection of your personal brand image and should be consistent with the brand you work for or the brand you want to work for. This does not mean you have to be a carbon copy of the brand’s model, but that your personal aesthetic is similar to the brand.
If you work for a company known for being modern and minimalist, then you should not be wearing bright colors and screaming prints. Downplay this by wearing solids or textures and simply add pops of color or prints with accessories.
Also, if you are a sweater designer, for example, you should be showing off your talent by wearing amazing examples of awesome sweaters. If you are a print designer wears prints! If you are a denim expert wear some unique examples of denim.
By following these guidelines you will be instantly improving your work image and be moving closer to your goals.
- Take a note from the way your boss and other upper management dress. This should be a guideline for you as to what is acceptable.
- Make sure your look is polished and refined before you walk out the door. It should convey confidence and professionalism.
- Make sure your wardrobe reflects the company’s brand image while still showing your own personal style.
Fashionable Career Planning Series
If you, or someone you know, want to learn how to build a successful fashion career you can read the entire series here. Learn how to plan your goals and keep your career on track.
- How To Set SMART Goals For A Career In The Fashion Industry
- How To Write SPRINT Goals For A Career In The Fashion Industry
- Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Career On Track
- How To Find A Mentor
- Top 5 Ways To Build A Great Reputation In The Fashion Industry
- What’s In A Fashion Job Title?
- How To Dress For The Job You Want In The Fashion Industry
- Should You Specialize In The Fashion Industry?