Clothes that fit can show your character
specializing in image consultancy for individuals and corporations; Eve Roth Lindsay is also a fashion designer, university lecturer, and author. She talks about the research in detail. “You only have one opportunity to promote yourself. No matter if it is a job interview or a business meeting, anyone who wears clothes that fit can impress the people they are meeting. If you wear the wrong clothes, people will still be talking about you for two weeks,” she says.
Some people think that image consultancy is luxurious. Eve asks, “Have you thrown away some clothes that you have never worn? Most people wear the same twenty percent of clothes over eighty percent of the time.”
She is not trying to transform an “ugly duckling into a swan”. She also will not ask her customers to keep fit or change their appearances completely. She is only teaching them how to “use a closet properly” and stop wasting money on buying clothes that do not fit.
However, many people never notice the problem. Eve provides a measurement index. “If you need more than ten minutes to decide what to wear before you go out, you fail!” she says. This shows that you have bought too many clothes that cannot be matched. That is why you need time to think.
Sarah Palin is a bad example
Her clients include individual clients and corporations such as HSBC (0005.HK), Citibank, and KPMG, etc. This shows that the appearance of employees is a part of a corporation’s image.
Although we say “clothes make the person”, Eve thinks the most important thing is to wear clothes according to your position. She uses US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin as an example. “As a ‘honkey mum’ that has five kids, it is not a shameful for her to wear clothes that are bought from a second-hand clothes shop in Alaska. We should appreciate her concern for her family,” Eve says. However, the Republican Party gave her US$150,000 (about HK$1,160,000) to buy clothes. The famous brands worn by her give people the impression that she is a shopaholic who cares nothing about people’s hardship or economic difficulties.
This explains why you need to choose clothes that fit your position. However, if you are in an entry level position, you can try to wear clothes that show you are more reliable “If you don’t want to stay in the entry level for a long time, you can try to imitate what your senior executives are wearing. This will give people an impression that you two are similar. They will assume that your abilities are higher,” she says.
Accessories help to show your style
Although you cannot wear clothes that are considered odd in the office; Eve suggests that you can choose accessories such as watches, rings, scarves, etc. Just like Chief Executive Donald Tsang, you can also wear bow ties (that’s his talking point). Eve adds, “Just find something that can become a ‘talking point’, so that people will remember you.”
Eve has studied psychology in the past. She says colours affect people’s perception. Therefore, you should not wear bright-coloured clothes that may not fit you. She thinks black suits are the safest. Navy blue and dark grey are also good choices for bankers and politicians. If you are a teacher or salespersons that have constant interactions with different people, you can choose neutral colours such as beige or khaki. If you are in the creative sector, you can wear any colour.
“Ladies can add some colour to their clothes. However, if they wear a pink suit like the one that the main character wears in the movie ‘Legally Blonde’, men will not take you seriously,” Eve says.
Tips for Office Wear from Eve Roth Lindsay
1. Deeper solid colours will make you appear more professional
2. Use brighter colours such as accents, they will make you stand out
3. Tailored, neat, and well-fitting clothes create an air of power and authority; make sure your outfits are never too tight
4. The higher the neckline and the lower the hem, the more you mean business
5. Casual dressing means ‘Dressy Casual’. It does not mean that you don’t make a choice
6. People who wear casual clothes can choose shirts that are not expensive, but the colour should be neutral
7. Torn jeans, sportswear, trainers and slippers are not appropriate office wear
8. If you don’t know the ‘casual’ standard in the office, you should look at how others are dressed in the office (meaning for casual Friday or working in the office on the weekends).
9. Dress for your most important client every day
10. Look after your hands and nails