How to Dress for Success

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June 11, 2007

You’re an eager young professional entering the workforce. You’re smart and ambitious, but are you dressed for corporate success? Lindsey Pollak, author of the new book Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World, shares some key fashion rules of the workplace:

When in doubt, wear a suit. Even if it’s pouring rain or the muggiest of summer days. If you discover that you’re wildly overdressed, you can always remove your jacket—as long as the top underneath isn’t too revealing! Wearing a suit is particularly important if you have a young-looking face and want to appear older and more experienced.

You can’t go wrong with basic black. The failsafe choice in any situation is a black suit—it’s always appropriate and matches everything. Every young professional woman should own at least one well-fitting black suit (pants or a just-below-the-knee skirt). If you’re on an entry-level budget, the bonus is that less expensive fabrics look better in black than lighter colors.

Accessorize (cautiously). The place to show your personality is with accessories: a chunky necklace, a scarf-belt in a trendy fabric, a splurge-worthy tote, fabulous (closed-toe) shoes. But skip the jingly bracelets. They get in the way when you’re making that super-important, first-impression handshake.

Overall, avoid having any element of your appearance make a bigger first impression than you do. It’s hard enough to get a job and get ahead; never, ever lose an opportunity because of what you’re wearing.

For more great inspiration for dressing right for the workplace, check our guide to Professional Essentials by stylist, Bridgette Reas.

 
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