How to dress professionally as a woman
Earlier we presented a guide on dressing professionally, for the gentlemen in our midst, with the article 'How to Select and Wear a Suit'. If you so happen to be a gentleman, head over to that article, or stay and read along of course. Ladies, now it's your turn! Dressing professionally on the work floor is an important component of your (future) careers. With these simple steps and staple wardrobe pieces, you will be ready to start your career looking perfectly professional!
Staple Items to Have In Your Professional Wardrobe
According to Mary Lou Andre, head of Organization by Design, “clothing is an overlooked component in many women’s professional life”. Many women do not realize how powerful clothing can be, especially when aiming to convey professionalism. By purchasing a few of the staple items presented below, you will be able to mix and match several professional outfits.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
When trying to compile the best office wear, start by determining the level of formality. The level of formality depends on the situation, the company culture and on personal preference. When deciding your office attire, first think about the situation or event at hand. Are you going to apply for a job? What kind of company is it? What is the general image you have of the company, or what is the company culture like? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you pick out your outfit. For a job interview you are generally ought to wear something slightly more conservative. The main point of the interview is convincing the recruiter of your professional skills, not your dressing ones. Furthermore, start with some research about the company. What can you find for example about the company culture? Does the company provide a written dress code? What works in one office does not necessarily work in another. It is known that investment banks and government institutions, for example, prefer more conservative office wear, whereas some office cultures are more laid back or even have ‘casual Fridays’. When you want to stay safe, the rule of thumb is better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.
Ladies, it does not stop when you have carefully selected and picked out your appropriate office outfit. The second step is to make sure that all formal clothing is fitted properly. It is better to buy a certain clothing item or outfit that is slightly too big than too small and revealing. When your outfit is slightly too big you can easily get it tailored to fit your body perfectly. This adds to your outfit and will look and feel more professional. Besides, it is important to keep your clothing spotless and in a good condition. Ironing your blouses is a must, and dry-cleaning your business wear every once in a while is highly recommended. There are some excellent dry cleaners available in Rotterdam and there is even one located on our campus. Lastly, avoid repeating outfits too often. Mixing and matching your items will look better than copying an exact outfit. Additionally, it will leave a better, more professional impression of you.
Have Fun Experimenting with Your Style
Learn to have fun with your outfit and always try to wear something you feel comfortable, confident and powerful in. For example, you could try on your outfits and practice walking with higheels at home to boost the confidence you will have in your look. Also, look around or online for inspiration. Amal Clooney for example is an influential person to be inspired by, when talking about formal dressing.
Where to Buy Your Business Attire
Last but not least, where can you buy these items? Some popular stores for professional women attire are for example Mango (€), Nordstrom (€€), Calvin Klein (€€€) or Hugo Boss (€€€). Professional attire can be quite expensive, so when on a budget we advise you to start browsing at Mango, for example the one in Alexandrium Shopping Center, Poolsterstraat 72, 3067 LX Rotterdam. Mango is relatively affordable, offers many different options to start building your wardrobe and often has sales that include items from their professional lines.
Remember, dress to impress but also keep it professional ladies. Choosing the right outfit will definitely complement your great career!