People always tell you to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Well, I’m sure you appreciate those widely spoken words, but that is so much easier said than done. Oftentimes, when you’re hoping to dress for success, you haven’t quite made it yet and your bank account isn’t exactly, uh, overflowing. Or maybe you’re just not sure how to make your hard-earned, successful, dollar count when it comes to your professional wardrobe.
Every woman deserves success and can attain it regardless of industry or goals – that means you. Before you read on, know that the most important rule to being successful in the workplace is confidence. You know your job and you do it well, so flaunt that.
With that said, follow our ten rules and dressing for success will be your new middle name.
Repeat this word a few times because it’s your new bestie. If you work in a corporate office, or simply need to dress up for various meetings, a simple black or navy suit is what you need. Pick a classic cut with no pattern (even though those pinstripes look so good on you) and wear this often. Nobody will notice. We promise –they’re doing it too.
2. Follow the 70/30 Rule
This rule is akin to versatility, but should help you prioritize your closet space. 70% of your wardrobe should never go out of style. We’re talking classics like a dark pencil skirt, a black pair of pumps or a basic white button up that can be tucked into anything. The last 30% of your professional wardrobe can encompass some fun–try statement, but work appropriate jewelry, red pumps, or a trendy ruffled blouse. Put these all together and you have 100% success.
3. The Budget Fashionista’s Cost Per Wear Formula:
We’ve been talking about the cost-per-wear formula forever and there’s a reason for this. Ladies, it’s all about value. Take the price of your prospective item of clothing and divide it by how many times you think you’ll wear it. For example if the item costs $100 and you think you’ll wear it 10 times, the cost per wear is $10, which ain’t bad. The point here is not to necessarily focus on the initial cost –suits and other professional items can be expensive, that’s just a fact (an unfortunate one). But don’t be scared off, because if you’ll wear a suit jacket every week for a year, your cost per wear will be low and the utility of the jacket will be really high.
4. Clothing Swap
This may seem like a lot of work to organize, but just take a second and image all those clothes shoved in your closet that you don’t wear just because you’re over them. Now, imagine your friends’ closets and how many awesome work pieces there could be, all of which could be yours. Yeah. For free. So, pick a day, get your girls involved and throw a Dress For Success clothing swap. Don’t forget the wine.
5. Keep your eye out for sales
There are fantastic sales that pop up on the web and in stores. Even if these sales happen at random times for you—you’re in between jobs, not sure what “success” means to you, or you don’t think you need a suit because you don’t wear them to work—take advantage of them anyway. Every woman should have at least one good suit in her closet or one go-to outfit for interviews, meetings etc. When you can get quality suits for less–do it. Also, download some mobile apps that push this info right to you.
6. Shop Weekend and Work Simultaneously
Not every item you wear to work, to a meeting or to an interview needs to be a traditional suit (unless you work in law or finance and then you should probably stick to the basics). A tailored sheath dress paired with a buttoned up cardigan and tights can make flawless outfits for the office. They can also define your style while you’re not wearing your “professional” hat—that same dress will look hot sans cardi for a night out. An easy and fun way to save money is to shop for the weekends and work at the same time. You’ll spend on one piece but get multiple looks.
7. Outlet Malls
Need we say more? Everything is discounted and who cares if it’s last season. Do the people at your office really know the difference? We’ll say it again. Outlet malls.
8. Know your wardrobe
Take inventory of what’s already in your closet. You may be surprised with what you find, but more importantly you won’t make the mistake of buying the same item again. If you have 3 striped blouses, do you really need another? Probably not. And if you know that, you won’t be spending cash where it need not be spent.
9. Get Thrifty
We absolutely love thrift and vintage stores. Most of the time the items are very discounted and totally unique thus you win on two accounts. Though you may not find tried and true classics (not that you definitely wont), you’ll definitely come across great blouses, jewelry and skirts that can show off your fashionista swagger while also being work appropriate.
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