Power dressing can never be understated in the corporate world and we all know that. Coined in the latter part of the 1970, the term “power dressing” has been the dressing style of those wanting to reflect a professional image, an elite status, influence and authority.
The impact of looking important on one’s career progression became a factor not to ignore by both men and women. While men have learned to master the dress game earlier and faster than women, one could argue though that sharply dressed or not, there are many obstacles women have to overcome in their struggle to rise up the food chain. My intention in this post is to draw us women’s attention to an important topic for some reason we still tend to ignore or let’s say not give it its real weight: Dressing for Success.
I was raised in a culture where knowing how to dress is crucial for success in every aspect of your life, personal and professional. You are free to disagree with this philosophy, I only base this on my personal experience how I have seen this at play.
As a Human Resource Business Partner, I realize it is not an easy journey for women to grow in the corporate realm. I also learned however that women must get their heads around some small yet effective ‘weaponry’ that could only make this journey a bit less painful.
Here are just a few tips and advices I have accumulated as Human Resources professional for each woman who reads this post to seriously consider:
- First impressions are real. And they last forever. Trust me. Research the employer and plan what to dress ahead of time before that interview. And whatever you decide to wear, ALWAYS make sure it falls in the ‘professional’ category.
- No jea
ns please! I’m a true disbeliever of ‘casual days’ especially if your organization is of conservative nature.
- Conservative organization or not, and unless you’ve got a fab bod and work in a modeling agency, avoid mini skirts and tight skimpy dresses, low necklines and revealing clothes. I am not sure you can even wear them if you work in a modeling agency.
- Suit up when you are not sure what to wear for that important meeting. You can never go wrong when in a suit.
- Don’t be afraid to accessorize. Make sure it suits you and goes with your outfit though. NO noisy bracelets. They are very annoying.
- Corporate dressing doesn’t have to be monochrome unless your company dress code states that. Otherwise research fashion trends and choose what best suits you and your corporate culture. Know your colors.
- Check what the company dress code is and abide by it. It’s there for a reason.
Learning how to dress is an art worth mastering by both men and women. However, a word of caution here. This will never replace the fundamental role of individual performance, which remains by far the most determinant factor for career progression.
About the author: Hanadi El Sayyed is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner working for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the market leader in development and management of shopping malls in the Middle East. Based in Dubai she specialises in strategic workforce planning and development with an emphasis on corporate sustainability and sustainable development. You can reach her on Linkedin or on Twitter as@Hana_ElSayyed.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
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