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Dressing for business success

24 March 2014

Business style- stand out from the crowd

Check-up on your professional image.

Your most flattering hairstyle

Your hair stylist plays a major part in personal image making. To create a style to suit you as an individual, they must respect your style direction and reflect how you earn your living. If they don’t know you, your work or your lifestyle there could be a disaster in the pipeline.

Three simple steps to transform a business outfit to cocktails/dinner/drinks

Too busy to think about a complete change of clothing, change your earrings and add a little sparkle – for example, diamonds that drop and dangle are perfect. Change your business shirt/top to a simple silk camisole. The sheen says evening. Finally, add a little depth to your lipstick and you’re done.

What to wear for the annual conference

Business casual is the order of the day here. Ditch the suit and relax the code. This does not translate to track pants or what you’d wear at home on a Saturday or on the beach. Smart casual pants and a relaxed knit top with a smart casual jacket will serve you well. Think about an accent colour for the jacket.

Choosing an appropriate business shoe that IS comfortable

Your best business shoe is leather and at between one and three inches high. A wedge gives you a solid base and will ensure you are taken seriously in business.  Check out this YouTube video on topping and tailing with hair and shoes: Purchase only quality. You’re worth it!

Identifying your best business handbag

To carry your tablet, phone, and essential bag stuff - think tote.  Shoulder bags can pull clothes out of line, damage them and your shoulder. Two bags can be cumbersome and can make you look a little disorganized. Light coloured linings mean you can see the contents of your bag easily.

The role accessories play 

Wardrobe staples can be boring: suits, shirts, skirts, etc. Accessorising close to the face with earrings, necklace or a scarf can turn the same suit-top combination into a completely new outfit. Your accessory collection needs to consist of six to 10 pieces that work back with all your basics. Consider having signature colours.

Understanding your unique signature colours

Wearing a signature colour helps immensely with rapport building – marking you out as an individual. It’s a powerful tool.

How to use contrast

This is a skill you should know. Contrasting light/dark close to your face using a light top and darker jacket will bring the focus of attention to your face and what you are saying. 

The importance of business accessories

This is a simple thing often forgotten. The pen you use and your mobile phone speak volumes about you. Choose a quality pen. Similarly, choose the ring tone on your mobile phone with care.  ACDC’s ‘Dirty Deeds’ as your general ring tone might not convey the best image. Neither might an old, chewed ballpoint pen do you justice.  Think about that one…

Helen Robinett has worked in sales and marketing. She advises corporate and individual clients on image and has published a book with Sue Currie and Carmen Parnos: Personal Branding, Apprentice to Business Ace.