While it’s simple enough to say “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” doing so is much more difficult. We see an example of this in The Devil Wears Prada with Andy. When she updated her wardrobe, she became taken much more seriously by her style-conscious boss. However, most of us don’t have access to a Vogue fashion closet (or even a well-dressed fairy godmother like Stanley Tucci).
It’s also difficult to dress for the job we want when we don’t have the budget, even though looking our best is crucial. Also, dressing like our boss indicates that we’re thinking about Furthering our career and seems more professional. “Executive presence” is a term defined as having the charisma or “wow” factor that separates excellent leaders from everyone else. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the founding president of the Center for Talent and Innovation, one of the most important facets of executive presence is appearance. At an event hosted by Marie Claire last year, Hewlett said that “appearance is an extraordinarily powerful first filter. It can get you knocked off the list in a second.”
How can you dress for the job you want while still spending relatively little money?
[Learn: Be a Better Leader]
- An excellent way to get the most out of your clothes is by investing in key pieces that will stand the test of time.
In order to build a wardrobe you can be proud of, Eunice Cho, Founder and Creative Director of AELLA, says there are certain items you should invest in. “This includes season-neutral trousers, a blazer, or a pencil skirt. Stick to black, navy, and gray so that you can wear them with everything. Here are some examples for outfits: If you have a really nice pair of black pants (slim, flared, or wide), you can wear them with a relaxed ivory blouse and boucle jacket for a very Chanel-inspired office look (think Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”).
“You can wear that same pair of pants with an easy white T-shirt and a colored blazer for a slightly more relaxed office look. For an even more casual look, wear the pants with a long, chunky sweater and channel your inner Stella McCartney.”
“Another example: If you buy a navy blazer with a black collar: you can wear this with navy or black pants and a light grey cashmere sweater on the days when you need to look like a boss. When you’re going out, you can wear this same blazer with skinny jeans, sharp stilettos, and a silk, slinky camisole for a super sleek look. You’ll still look like a boss, but in a different way.”
- Make sure everything is tailored to your specific needs
Tailoring everything perfectly can make a world of difference. Cho told us, “An alternative is to buy reasonably-priced staples and take them to your tailor! A tailor can nip in a jacket at the waist, slim down the legs of an overly baggy pair of pants, and hem lengths on garments.”
“Things that your tailor cannot change easily are shoulders or collars on jackets and crotches on pants, so look out for these areas when you’re shopping.”
- Search for jewelry that makes a statement
Find an elegant piece of jewelry that will turn heads. It doesn’t need to be a gaudy, over-the-top necklace (although those can be stunning too), but it should make you feel fabulous. You don’t have to spend a fortune either – J.Crew and Bauble Bar offer great pieces at budget-friendly prices. A pearl necklace is a classic piece of jewelry that can be very expensive, but you can also find some great quality fake pearls. After all, Margaret Thatcher used to wear them as her secret weapon.
[Read: How to Wear Jewelry in a Professional Setting]
- Heels make you look stylish and sexy
Though I’m a lover of flats, when I want to make an impact or look powerful, it’s heels all the way. There’s something about heels that just screams confidence. Research suggests that people perceive taller women as more assertive, confident, and successful than their shorter peers,” psychologist Emma Kenny said. “Perception is incredibly powerful and it makes sense that the feedback we receive from the way we are treated by others will reinforce our choices.”
As well as making you look and feel great, heels can actually help your career according to Marty Nemko. He wrote about how shoe obsession disorder is a big plus in the workplace. Women buy conversation-starting shoes which can be brilliant for networking events – just make sure they aren’t too out there (think Mrs. Frazzle in “The Magic School Bus” series!)
Though being tall has its advantages, short people can benefit from the optical illusion of height as well. You want to buy shoes and clothing that support that illusion.
If heels aren’t your style, go for a pair of flats that convey confidence. Get more details about what makes a shoe a power flat here.
- Getting enough sleep is important for your health
Although this may sound amusing, sleep is key to appearing healthier and working more efficiently. You might not need the same amount of sleep as others, but find a number that makes you feel rested and prepared for the day.
- Wear clothing that makes you feel powerful
As the great Cher Horowitz once said, “Lucy! Where is my shirt from Fred Segal!? It looks the most capable!”
Everyone has that one article of clothing that just oozes confidence. For some people, it’s a bright pink blazer while others feel their best in a navy blue suit or cashmere cardigan. World-renowned fashion designer Giorgio Armani stated, “[Women] have edged out their standing in the world. Today, they don’t have to wear a suit jacket to prove their authority.” So find what style makes you feel like the boss and rock it!
- Choose your style carefully
According to The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act like a Millionaire, Even if You’re Not
You need to be conscious of every style choice you make, from the coat you wear to where you buy a cup of coffee. This quote is from the book:
“The brand of coffee that you choose has become a style statement, and those who work and socialize with you are just as likely to pick up cues about your aspirations by your coffee selection as all of the other brands you carry on your personage. If you carry it, then its brand becomes part of yours—by association.”