What you choose to wear to work each day says a lot about who you are as an admin and as a professional. Wrinkled or ill-fitting clothes can signify laziness; too tight outfits can be disrespectful; and mismatched or worn-out attire can be a sign of apathy – even if that’s not your intention.
Your professional wardrobe is a reflection of not just your style, but who you are as a professional; it’s part of your personal brand and that’s something you need to protect and preserve. As an admin, you’re also probably one of the first people someone sees when entering your office. And whether that person is an employee or visitor, executive or custodian, you need to look polished and professional to make a good first impression – not only for yourself, but also for your executive, team, and company.
So how do you represent yourself and your company professionally, preserve your personal brand, and still show your own unique style? It may seem like a challenge, especially if you’re not very fashion-forward or style-inclined. But dressing for success is actually fairly simple and straightforward if you follow this advice.
- Use your company’s dress code as a guide. Think of it as the minimum standard you have to dress to. For example, if the policy says no thin-strapped tops, you probably should avoid sleeveless altogether. If flip-flops are outlawed, but sandals are permitted, you might want to keep to peep-toe or closed-toe shoes. It’s always better to be too covered up than not covered enough. Plus, most offices are cold – so you’ll save yourself from being chilly!
- Choose clothes that show your personality. Just because your attire has to be professional doesn’t mean it has to be boring! A little color and some tasteful accessories can go a long way in making an outfit “you.” Don’t be afraid to introduce these things into your professional wardrobe – they’ll make your look more dynamic and show your colleagues your “true colors.”
- Consider your comfort. When you’re choosing what to wear to work, remember that you’ve got to be in it for at least eight hours (maybe more). Being comfortable in your clothes is important, but comfortable doesn’t mean frumpy. If you like wearing pants, wear pants. If you prefer skirts or dresses, wear those. If heels are your shoes of choice, wear them. Just make sure whatever you choose is clean, wrinkle-free, and doesn’t have any holes.
Dressing for success doesn’t mean you have to turn your office into a runway. (Although, that could be fun!) It simply means putting time and thought in to the attire you choose to wear to work each day and making sure it’s reflective of who you are and the message you want to convey to the world. The right professional wardrobe not only demonstrates your personal brand and dedication to your career, it also boosts confidence, inspires trust, and drives respect. Make sure you not only act the part of an admin each day, but look it, too!
© 2013 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.