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Summary – 

This episode is jam-packed full of quick, simple and effective ways to improve the way you dress at work. A lot of what is mentioned has come straight from the mouths of CEOs that lead some of the most reputable & well-known businesses in Australia.

Things I Mention – 

  • Why it matters what we look like at work
  • A few small but mighty ways to create a polished & professional look 
  • Two of my must-have products for keeping clothes in good condition
  • How to dress on casual Friday

PLUS, I share a game-changing gift idea that will dramatically increase your confidence. 

Links & Helpful Resources – 

Make sure you hit SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss out on any of my practical tips & tricks and if you enjoyed this episode, please leave me a rating and a review? Thanks! 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Business Coach & Mentor Clare Wood on how to ensure you always look on point if you’re a woman in business. The interview came about after telling Clare about a job I did a few years into my styling career with a well-known & reputable law firm. This particular law firm had reached out because they were shocked and embarrassed by how their female employees were showing up for work each day and asked if I’d be willing to go on a tour around QLD hosting workshops for the staff in each branch plus do a 1-HR speaking gig to every female who works in their Brisbane head office. At the time, that was more than 500 female lawyers, HR managers, chief financial officers, accountants and so on. I was 24 at the time and remember feeling absolutely terrified because it was up to me to have to tell these women that the way they dressed for work each day, just wasn’t up to scratch!

To my surprise though, this job remains one of my proudest achievements to date. The feedback from the women in that room was so rewarding and truth be told, so unexpected given that I was the literally the bearer of bad news that day but I learnt a valuable lesson from that experience, which was this – we all more or less want the exact same thing – we all want to look nice but most of us are either too afraid, too embarrassed or too proud to ask for help. And so all of a sudden, hundreds of women were told by their employer that their job that day was to listen to me speak about a topic that they actually really wanted help with and so it turned out to be a win/ win for everyone involved! 

In this episode, I’m going to share some of what I spoke about because everyone can benefit from hearing these things regardless of if you work from an office or you work from home, You don’t even need to be working at this point in time (perhaps you’re a stay at home Mum!), you’ll still take a lot from this episode. 

Let’s ask the question first – why does it matter what we look like at work? Because first impressions count, especially in business. When we walk into a company or discover a business owner online, the first thing we’ll notice is the way they are dressed. Whether we tend to admit it or not, human beings are quick to assume and people will make assumptions about a stack of different things within seconds. Some of these include the success of the business, its values, typical clients and whether or not these things things align with their value which will determine if they become a paying customer or not. This is why first impressions count. 

To add to this, the way we dress affects the perception that other people have of us and as we just discussed, this perception or first impression is formed within seconds and is kept until proven wrong. So why are other people’s perceptions important? Because other people’s perceptions of us dictate the way they treat us. It will dictate the way they listen to us, the respect that they give to us and how much influence you’ll have. If your goal at work is to be successful, your influence over other people is going to be incredibly important. If people aren’t listening to you, you are going to have very little influence over them which ultimately dictates the amount of success you’ll have. 

And lastly, in this day and age of competitive business, customers and clients of all industries are becoming more demanding and have very high expectations of their visual surrounds and the service they receive. To stay ahead of the game in your industry, you’ll want to do all that you can to further the service you offer, including the way you dress & how you show up for each client.

So let’s now dive into some of the things you might think about to ensure you always look on point if you’re a woman in business – 

 Don’t Underestimate Your Underwear

You might be wondering how the heck your underwear became a part of this conversation… well, remember the highly successful, reputable law firm I mentioned previously, this was their biggest concern – crazy right?! Your underwear is a part of an outfit that people don’t even see, but it is key to creating a more flattering silhouette. 

Two of the most common underwear concerns at work are visible bras and VPL’s – which stands for visible panty lines. Both can jeopardise a professional look in a few seconds flat.

So when I say visible bras I’m talking about a few things here – 

The first being the colour of your bra. You’ll want to make sure that you can’t see the colour of your bra through your top. So thinking twice perhaps about wearing a black or bright pink bra under a white top, even if the white top doesn’t appear to be sheer to the naked eye. And I’ll also just add, that this is twice as visible on camera so if your business is online or you are required to do video meetings or social media videos, then this is a good one to remember.  

Another few things to consider –

  1. Are you wearing a business shirt that’s a little too snug on you? If so, this can cause the buttons to gape which will show your bra and
  2. Can you see your bra straps?

I always recommend investing in at least one nude bra with convertible bra straps; that way, you can change the straps depending on what you’re wearing which should solve any bra strap concerns.  

As for the visible panty lines – I tell every client of mine to stock up on seamless underwear in both nude and black so the outline of your underwear isn’t visible through your skirt or trousers. I personally wear seamless underwear every single day and if you’re in a position to wear activewear to work, a seamless g-string is a must! 

Consider Colour 

Colour has the ability to change the way we feel and can lift our mood almost instantly which creates this powerful ripple effect that impacts everything we do or say throughout the day – all good things when it comes to business!

In my opinion, colour should be one of the first things you think about when getting dressed for the day but it’s often overlooked. I say this because when you wear colours that compliment and work well with your skin-tone, it gives the illusion of a more youthful appearance and who doesn’t want to look a few years younger?! More importantly though, it will brighten your entire complexion which makes your eyes look clear, your skin look flawless and your hair look healthy & strong – again, all good things if you want to impress a potential client.

And  while we’re on the topic of colour, there are 3 colour schemes that can help you do 2x things really well –increase the versatility of your wardrobe and give an outfit a totally different feel/ vibe. I talk about this more in my eBook – The A to Z of Confidence but today I’m going to discuss the Analogous Colour Scheme, because when it comes to business, this one can be really effective. 

The Analogous colour scheme can be described as an outfit that includes 2 to 3 colours that lie next to (beside) each other on the colour wheel. I know some of you probably haven’t seen a Colour Wheel since Primary School but let’s use purple, blue and green for example. Lets say you wore navy trousers with an emerald green top and you added a handbag in a deep plum colour. This is the analogous colour scheme and works really well in business because it creates a look that’s more elegant & sophisticated which potential clients will love.

It’s All In The Details

Now, most of what constitutes a polished image is in the details – neat hair, well-applied make-up, manicured nails, polished brows & appropriate perfume. It’s no secret that hair & make-up alone, can transform an outfit from casual to polished & powerful in less than 10mins.  

A lot of women tend to focus more on their clothes however it’s actually our hair & make-up that has the power to take a particular top that has a more casual feel and make it appear more dressy & polished.

My biggest tip here would be to invest in a 1:1 tutorial with a qualified hair and make-up artist. Then have them teach you a quick and simple hairstyle and make-up look that you can then re-create at home. A lot of my clients have done this and it’s been an absolute game-changer for them. 

Having a professional sit with you while you try your hand at doing your own hair & make-up is priceless and a skill you’ll then use for the rest of your life. Also, if you mainly use video to connect with potential clients, ensure you tell a make-up artist this, as it will change the way they suggest you do your make-up.

So, next time your friends or family ask you what you’d like for your birthday – tell me this! 

Some House Keeping Secrets

Ok, I want to share with you 2 of my secret weapons for keeping your clothes in good condition because there’s nothing like a ratty old shirt to ruin a polished vibe. 

The first product is DYLON Ultra Whitener. Over-time whites can start to look dull especially if they’re on high rotation throughout the week. When it comes to whites, I follow the golden rule – it has to be as crisp and as clean-looking as humanly possible to look good. For brighter, cleaner whites treat them regularly with Dylon Ultra Whitener which is my absolute favourite brightening product and can be purchased at most supermarkets.

The second product is OzKleen’s Dry Cleaners Secret. I love that good as new feeling that dry cleaned clothes have but you know what I don’t love … the cost of regular dry cleaning!

Thankfully, I stumbled across this product a few years back. I used to buy it at Coles but I think it’s only available online now but honestly, it’s so worth it if you spend a decent amount on dry cleaning. Dry Cleaners Secret removes spot stains, eliminates odours and leaves your clothes feeling fresh plus it’s really easy to use – you just stick one sheet in a clothes dryer for 20mins with your clothes and you’re done!.

Now this last point won’t apply to everyone but it’s another big concern that CEO’s and/ or business owners have mentioned in the past and that is how to dress on casual Fridays. Unfortunately, the term ‘casual Friday’ doesn’t give us free reign to wear any old thing – a certain level of dress code should still apply. In general, sticking to smart/ casual clothes is your best bet.

Outfits should be in good condition (no holes or missing buttons), neatly ironed and not too tight or revealing. Keep any faded, torn or frayed clothing for the weekend. Ultra-short hemlines, plunging necklines and anything overly flimsy should be left for after work. Worn-out sneakers, thongs, sweatpants, activewear and any offensive or racist slogan tees are generally not a good look, unless of course you can wear activewear to work.

For some, the thought of wearing heels on ‘Casual Friday’ is torture so consider swapping heels for a pointed loafer in Summer and flat boots in Winter. Flimsy ballet flats with a thin sole should be left for the weekend too!

Creating a casual yet professional outfit doesn’t have to be tricky. Just ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable sitting in a meeting with a handful of clients wearing the outfit you have on? If the answer is no, then you may need to rethink your outfit. 

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