In the past, yoga pants and athletic wear have been the mainstays for my wardrobe. After all, they are comfortable and they make your butt look good. I am pretty good at rockin’ them. Last spring, my horoscopes, fortune cookies, and other such all-future-telling devices started stepping on my toes. Over and over, they mentioned that it would be in my best interest to pay attention to my wardrobe and even step it up a notch as far as wearing business attire and dressing the part. I ignored it for a few months because I mean, what the heck, we live in Bend where yoga and gym attire is completely acceptable no matter what you are doing or what time of day it is. In fact, it’s kind of trendy in a town that prides itself in it’s acceptance of casualness and it can be a sign of “hey, you got to the gym today. high five.” You know. Gym culture.
One day, it happened again. My horoscope mentioned “dressing the part”, and when something crosses my path more than 2 or 3 times, I sit up and take note. I believe my universe is trying to tell me something.
So I said, “fine. let me take a look at this.” I didn’t go out and purchase a new wardrob, but I did put to use the one I had. I pulled, to the front of my closet, all the articles of clothing that my yoga pants had pushed to the back. It totally made a difference. I’m not talking, you know, double sales or double clients in two weeks time. What I’m talking about is the way I felt prepared and confident and ready for any opportunity that came my way that day. You see, there had been many times previously that I thought about how I SHOULD stop at a certain place of business and drop off cards or introduce myself but didn’t feel presentable because my hair was in it’s everlasting ponytail, and I was in my yoga pants. Talk about missed opportunities!!
I am certain my Grandma was onto something. She was ALWAYS up and dressed with her hair fixed before anyone else. She would say, “This way, I am READY!! If someone stops in or calls and needs something, I am READY for whatever comes my way.” And can’t we all relate to those days when we decide to stay in our pjs and go without makeup or fix our hair? INEVITABLY, someone comes to the door or a client needs to pick up something or wants to stop by. I’m not against the occasional day that we unplug…or the occasional day where we don’t get dressed up because we plan to buckle down and really kick a To Do List behind closed doors. Rather, I am talking about letting casualness be the rule rather than the exception.
This is what I noticed when I made some changes to the way I dress and paid more attention to the way I present myself. I take myself more seriously as do my clients and potential clients. I am ready to take on the day and whatever opportunities came my way. I feel more confident and assertive, which is a key to making those sales and landing those deals. And I am ready to represent.
These are my tips for dressing the part and dressing for success:
#1 Dress appropriately for the job. If you are a fitness trainer, of course, gym attire while with your clients at the gym is fine. However, if you are giving a presentation or at a social networking event, you will show more professionalism and credibility if dressed a bit more formal.
#2 Dress and present yourself like you care. You will increase your chances of hireability if you show that you have self respect and care for yourself because we all know that we can’t give others respect and care until we have given it to ourselves.
#3 Keep yourself fresh and clean. Remember what it feels like to go to that appointment with your optometrist who has bad breath?
#4 Fix your hair and put on yo’ face even if it means sticking with the basics. You will be surprised at how a little eye liner and a swipe of lip gloss will “wake up your face” and give you that glow of being attentive.
#5 Choose styles and cuts that are right for your body type. We are not all created with the same exact shape or body type. Know yours and dress accordingly.
#6 Pick colors that you know look great on you! Don’t be afraid to step out of the box with something a bit updated or different, but don’t wear something different just for the sake of something different. Be sure it compliments your complexion, skin tone, eye color, etc.
#7 Wear layers, whether that be layering pieces of clothing (shirts, blouses, tops, jackets, sweaters, etc) or accessories (necklaces, bracelets, scarves, etc).
#8 Wear nice lingerie. That ill-fitting bra that you wore before you had babies and breastfed them?? Chuck that baby. NOW. I don’t know about you, but feeling like a lady is empowering and so important to me. It’s so important that we step up to take care of ourselves and that we give ourselves our best care and confidence.
#9 Ask a close friend or sister to give you some kind critique about what their opinion is on what styles and colors look great on you. Maybe they will suggest something that you hadn’t thought of, or inspire you to try something new that you will end up loving.
…and, last but not least, and perhaps my favorite….
#10 PUT ON YOUR CHARISMA! After all, YOU are what makes your business stand out from your competition. It would be such a bummer if you had the perfect outfit put together and forgot to show up for yourself! Take a few extra seconds in the mirror. As you apply your blush, pause, look yourself in the eye and SMILE AT YOU! Give yourself the same smile you would greet a client with. Do a little self-talk. Positive, that is. Don’t focus on the fact that the rain is going to give your hair the frizzies or on that zit that showed up in the middle of night keeping you feeling like a teenager. Focus on loving yourself and your business.
My friends, I have just dressed you for success. Now, go out and rock your job! Feel success, and you will be successful.