Most of us aren’t required to look 100% professional 24/7.
It is inevitable that you will run into a colleague at the grocery store when you are still in your workout clothes or at the home improvement store when you are in your yard work clothes. I don’t know anyone who lives their entire life in a suit.
However, for those times when you want to look like the most professional version of yourself, here are some image tips. The main goals are to represent yourself well, to look like you’ve got it together and to not distract anyone with how you look.
Ladies & Gentlemen
1. Have a mint and save the gum for weekends. Chewing gum just looks silly in a professional environment, plus you may be like me and be tempted to blow bubbles, making you look like an eight-year-old.
2. Put your sunglasses away. You can’t imagine how many times I see people sitting in a meeting with their sunglasses perched on their head. Ladies, sunglasses are NOT a headband.
3. Clean up your shoes. Nothing looks more careless than dirty shoes. If you live somewhere dusty, keep wet wipes handy to clean up before entering a meeting.
4. Keep your nails trimmed and clean. Ladies, nude and light colors look best for your fingers (and use your discretion when it comes to your toes–you can probably get away with bold colors if you prefer).
5. Mind your body language. Maintain proper posture and when someone is speaking, make eye contact, nod and smile as appropriate.
6. Don’t overdo the cleavage or the exposed leg. Don’t let your skin be a distraction or affect your credibility. In fact, I recommend against spaghetti straps in the office and even sleeveless tops unless it is very modestly cut. Knee-length skirts or longer are also recommended. Oh, and when you wear a skirt, make sure it is lined or PLEASE wear a slip.
7. Beware of “dress shorts” and even “dress capris,” meaning fancier shorts and capris that are supposed to be office-worthy (like with pin stripes). Just make sure your overall look says “Professional” and not “about to board a cruise.”
8. Wear some makeup. It is a proven fact that women are considered more confident and competent when they wear simple, flattering makeup. Even out your skin tone with tinted moisturizer or foundation and accentuate your best features with a little mascara, plus a neutral blush and light lip gloss.
8. Keep your hair groomed. That means your facial hair, ears and nose, too! Consider waxing that uni-brow and PLEASE trim your long eyebrows.
9. Be bold with color! Don’t shy away from colors other than black, navy or gray. Whether a collared shirt or a dress shirt, most men (especially those of you with salt-and-pepper hair) look great in purple, red, a shade of turquoise and even orange. If your job requires you to be more conservative, consider a purple or pink-hued tie instead.
When you look your best, you will be AT your best!
What do YOU think should be added to this list?
Need help with your professional image? Contact me to schedule a “Next Step Assessment” to determine how we can work together to elevate your look to the next level!