In today’s corporate culture, we all know we do not get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s a proven fact that people have already made up their minds about you within the first 30 seconds. Your style of dress and grooming can make you or break you.
So…how important is your professional image to you? Here are the first five of my top ten list of the most common fashion mistakes professional women make in the workplace:
1. Visible bra straps, ill-fitting undergarments, and/or panty lines exposed. Showing bra straps, popping out of your demi-cup bra, or revealing lacy textures under your clothing will encourage your male colleagues to see you as a woman rather than a professional. When was the last time you got a proper bra fitting? You can do this at a local lingerie boutique or department store, where you will get the proper bra size and cut for your body. Invest in some quality bras that are smooth in black, white, and nude colors, and with clear or removable straps. Also to avoid visible panty lines by wearing smooth nude thongs, boy shorts, girdles, or, most popular currently, SPANX – especially when wearing clothes that are fitted to the body. It is distasteful and unprofessional to show your undergarments when sitting down or displaying panty lines from behind.
2. Over-accessorizing. When it comes to accessories, keep it simple, timeless, stylish, and feminine. Wearing too much jewelry or loud accessories tells people that you are insecure about your physical assets and you are covering up your body. Use accessories to enhance a conservative outfit or to add a touch of color to a dull suit or some sparkles to a neckline. Wearing earrings, a necklace, bracelets, and rings at the same time is definitely overkill, and I have seen this on many women quite often.
3. Clothes that are too tight. Wearing clothes that fit your body well can enhance your appearance, but that does not mean you need to expose every inch and curve. Save those looks for parties and nightclubs or for a non-professional environment. If you have gained or lost weight, buy new clothes or get alterations on your current wardrobe. Wearing clothes too loose can also make you look older, heavier and unpolished.
4. Slips that are too long or too short. Make it a habit to inspect yourself in front of a mirror front and back before walking out of the door and be sure nothing is showing through your garments. Buy slips in different lengths and in nude, black, and white. You want to mute the sheerness of your garment and not draw attention to the color of what’s underneath.
5. Chipped nail polish, nails that are too long, or tacky nail art. This is definitely an area where I think women really need to pay attention! Keep your nails clean and tasteful. A clear coat or a French manicure is always classy. Or wear no polish at all but keep the nails buffed and clean. If you like red nail polish, then keep nails short or only 1/8 of an inch over your nailbed. Anything longer will look vulgar, unsophisticated, and unpolished. If you are unsure, pick up a copy of Vogue, Bazaar, or InStyle Magazine for reference.
Does any of these five speak to you? Do you see your boss or co-workers making these mistakes? Perhaps you can share this post with them if you don’t want to be too direct. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this in next week’s post.