They say you have to spend money to make money and I definitely agree. Now admittedly, I may take this theory to the extreme but I find that (especially in certain industries) it really does pays to invest in yourself.
There are many ways to invest in yourself to advance in the workplace like furthering your education, purchasing a nicer car, or sprucing up your home office. I have actually dropped quite a few dollars in all of the above areas and they have all paid off handsomely but what about investing in your wardrobe?
I of course invest in my personal wardrobe a.) because I work in fashion and b.) because I freaking love clothes, but what about “normal” people? Should they invest in their wardrobes as well? Does it matter? The answer is yes and yes.
I remember working with one of my very first personal styling clients, almost 5 years ago, who had a VERY big job – we’re talking major boss lady. She simply didn’t care about fashion and why should she? It had nothing to do with her job. Well after many a sideways stares and whispers around the office in regards to her appearance, she decided to hire me. I asked her why the sudden interest in improving her wardrobe she said, “OMG, Lauren, my office is like the adult version of Mean Girls.” Even in a non-fashion related industry, carrying the latest “it” bag or wearing the scarf that is all the rage matters.
All of this was very interesting to me, so I asked her to tell me more.
She explained how having a bit of “it” factor in your wardrobe goes a long way. It gets you to the proverbial “cool table” and the girls at the cool table look out for each other in the workplace. Meaning more opportunities for better deals, promotions, and the like.
My takeaway? Style matters. It doesn’t just matter to the fashion-obsessed either, it matters to regular people too.
Back to my client, I re-did her entire wardrobe and included a few “it” pieces like a Missoni scarf, Lanvin ballet flats, and a Balenciaga bag. Items that weren’t overly flashy but would turn the heads of the “mean girls.” Guess what? It totally worked! I was named a “genius” and have been working with this client ever since. Don’t you just love a happy ending?
You too can make subtle improvements to your wardrobe to you get ahead no matter what industry you work in.
Look at me with the old sayings today! This one is true too. Don’t dress down at work if you want to get ahead. Always strive to dress at least one position over your current one. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a full suit if your entire office is business casual but adding a tailored blazer or some great pumps will place you above the rest.
The floss-factor piece is that one item that says “oooh snap!” Am I getting too slangy for ya? It’s one of those days. Lets use my Missoni scarf example from above. Everyone knows it Missoni, it’s fancy, it’s sophisticated, but it’s not too much like, say, a Louis Vuitton logo printed scarf. This is a piece that says I get it, I invest in myself, and I want to work hard for a nice life.
Now you don’t want to go to the extreme on this one. Wearing head-to-toe designer when you are a receptionist can give the wrong message (spoiled rich girl who lives off of her parents riches). So be cautious with this one.
The devil is in the details … my stars, I am on a roll with the sayings! Having your nails, hair, and makeup done up right is crucial. Those seemingly small personal investments can go a long way. I am the worst at keeping my nails manicured at all times and it’s a habit I’d really like to break. It sounds silly but think of how much you do with your hands at work? Jotting down notes at meetings, shaking hands, etc … people are looking at your hands. Same goes for hair and makeup – who wants to promote a Sloppy Sally? Amirite?