Monday, March 28, 2011

Colors should be kept soft and feminine

Lately at work, I've been researching best practices for workforce development, or basically what social service providers are doing to help people get jobs.

The following is advice that one employment agency gives to its female clients:

We have all heard the phrase, "Dress for success."  In the corporate world, looking the part is essential in either landing the job of your dreams or getting promoted at your current place of employment. Although we should never judge a book by its cover, a professional appearance plays a huge role on how your employer perceives you.  Although corporate attire differs for women and men, there are four key components to keep in mind when getting dressed for work while still projecting a professional image:  style, color, length and fit. 

Pant suits and skirt suits should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Your pants should be tailored and fitted, but not so tight as to show a panty-line.  Skirts should be no more than one inch above your knees, and should be loose enough so that you are not uncomfortable when you sit.  Suit jackets can be worn open, but should be able to button. Some basic suit colors are navy and grey.   Black suits are always chic and you can add hints up color to liven them up, and give them personality. Colors should be kept soft and feminine. Light blues, soft pinks and lilacs are ideal. Button down shirts are classic, but wearing one with ruffles adds instant femininity to a strong suit. (Make sure there are no gaps between the button holes!) You can even swap a suit jacket for a cardigan. Pair it with a pencil skirt, and cinch it at the waist with a thin belt for a more fashionable look. Pantyhose must be worn, and can be a neutral tone or black with a little sheen. Make sure they are run free!

Accessories are a fool proof way to personalize any outfit. In a corporate environment you want to keep it clean and simple. Cool studded earrings or small hoops paired with a single bracelet, is effortless and tasteful; or a string of pearls balanced with an elegant watch is also a timeless combination. Adding a belt to your look adds instant style effortlessly. Shoes should be closed toe with a moderate heel, (one to two inches is best) classy, and good quality leather. Droopy handbags look shabby and sloppy. For the office, opt for a sleek briefcase, and match it up with a leather day clutch or a purse with a strap big enough to only hold your necessities. Just like with your shoes, your purse is an accessory you can play with and experiment different textures.

Also imperative to your corporate wardrobe is your personal hygiene!  Hair should be neatly styled, nails should be manicured, and you should have a clean, fresh scent to you.  Body odor is a no-no.  Perfumes and colognes should be applied as a single sprits [sic].

Despite my tendency towards the scruffy chic (I put the "casual" in "business casual"), I suppose I can probably attribute all my success in life to wearing feminine colors and cool studded earrings. It is probably important to tie my professional success to a great cardigan and my ability to walk in moderate heels.  Thoughts, ladies?

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