The #1 rule I abide by when I’m getting ready is this: it is always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. If I’m uncertain about how formal an event is, I know I’d rather look put together than ill-prepared and inappropriate. My mom engrained this philosophy into me, and it has saved me from embarrassing outfit mishaps on numerous occasions! The reason this philosophy is so important is because first impressions are essential to how we view each other personally and professionally.
When the maid of honor is giving a speech at a wedding, when a boss is reflecting on an employee’s hard work, or even when friends simply want to reminisce on old times, the most referenced stories are their first impressions – what they thought of the other when they first met.
First impressions set the tone. They show others who you are through a multitude of nonverbal cues, and what you’re wearing is one of the biggest contributing factors. This can be both exhilarating and intimidating, thus I’ve compiled a few outfit rules and ideas to assist you in confidently making your professional mark.
Do: Choose an outfit that shows your personality.
Don’t: Go too bold with the patterns or colors.
When choosing an outfit for an interview, it is important to research the company to find out as much about the workplace atmosphere as possible. You want to stand out to the company while showing that you can mesh with their vibe. For this look, I went with a business professional outfit that was tailored to my body and was in flattering colors. I felt confident because I was staying true to what I love about my style, as well as dressing appropriately.
Do: Make a statement.
Don’t: Go too casual.
When you’re meeting with a client, you want to express to them exactly who you are and why you are trustworthy. Expressing yourself through your outfit allows you to showcase your personality and professionalism while simultaneously allowing them to feel confident and secure in working with you.
Do: Bring in a bold pattern or trendy piece.
Don’t: Take yourself too seriously.
Whether you’re looking for a job, new clients or new employees, make sure that you’re properly representing your company and the standards you keep. That being said, formality isn’t as necessary in these settings.
There is more freedom to bring in slightly trendier pieces at these events, so give it a try!
When choosing an outfit for my most recent networking event, I started with a tailored track pant and worked my way up from there. I’m obsessed with nudes right now, so I chose a simple silk, nude top and a bright coral (one of my best colors) blazer to maintain a level of professionalism. I finished the look with a springy open-toed heel.
Do: Tailor your look.
Don’t: Forget to maintain modesty
How your present yourself when meeting new co-workers is key to how they will treat you and work with you.
When you feel authentic and confident in an outfit, others will feel comfortable around you. In other words, maintain a level of professionalism that encourages productivity rather than gossip. If you can feel how cold the chair is when you sit, your skirt is may be short. If you have to hold your blouse up when you bend over, wear an under shirt.
Emily Blanco is a freelance writer based in San Antonio, TX. She has studied creative writing, journalism, and has a degree in English Lit. She loves to blend her snarky observations with helpful truths, encouraging people to love reading again! When she isn't being a complete book junkie, she loves to travel with her husband and pup, as well as explore local hidden gems.