[h4] Click here to listen to my BBC Radio Derby interview on Dressing smartly for your professional life on the Aleena Naylor show[/h4]
The lovely Aleena Naylor or Heap as she is now, asked me to go along to her BBC Radio Derby morning show back in November to discuss an article from the Daily Mail.
The Femail article publicised a new report that revealed teachers are Britain’s worst-dressed professionals, with estate agents coming out at the top for once.
‘Fifty per cent of all the Brits polled voted teachers as bottom of the class claiming dirty shirts, threadbare trousers and scuffed shoes as the worst offenders, whereas smooth talking estate agents were revealed as the smartest dressers. With Teachers themselves admit to letting standards slip with 20 per cent admitting to wearing the same shirt for up to three days, whereas 20 per cent of super-smart bankers admit to changing their shirt twice a day.’ Deborah Arthurs, Daily Mail.
I share the same beliefs to that of Gill Politis from High and Mighty Fashion Retailer who commissioned the study, in that there are certain professions in which the public expect high levels of smartness and teaching, it seems, is one of those professions. In my personal opinion Teachers are seen as role models for children and as such should be setting a smart example when it comes to dressing for work.
The study also found that thanks to the recession, British workers are upping their game in the style stakes, with one in five saying they hoped their smarter look might make their bosses take note when it comes to promotion time. This is something I have definitely witnessed in my line of work as an image consultant and personal shopper. I have more and more professional clients using my services to help them invest in their smart and formal wear work wardrobe in order to set themselves apart from the competition. Whilst they may not be interested in clothes or making a particular fashion statement, they are aware on the impact their appearance makes, particularly regarding their career. I always ask, do you dress for the job you have or for the job you want. Employers are willing to pay for people who already look the part.
It’s all about taking time, in business you operate most effectively by taking time to consider actions rather than by charging in and behaving rashly. Your wardrobe should be run similarly. If you plan and organise your wardrobe you will know what you have to work with and what you need. The image you present to the world should not be an afterthought. You wouldn’t undertake an important meeting or presentation without any preparation, likewise you should invest time in planning your appearance. Treat “you” as a major work commitment because no matter how prepared you are, 55% of your initial communication is going to be visual.
Although you might feel what you do is far more important than how you look, there is no doubt that today’s powerful and successful business men and women are well dressed and image conscious. However why do we feel guilty about spending money on ourselves? Women are the worst at this! It’s such a poor excuse. It is perfectly acceptable to spend it on the kids, husband or home, but spending it on themselves is somehow indulgent, why?
Don’t take yourself for granted. If you don’t value yourself then other people won’t value you either. Buying a professional wardrobe is not an extravagance, but part and parcel of your working life. By investing in your appearance you are also investing in your professional and personal future.
For more on what I have to say on this subject, please take a listen to my radio interview.Click here [ Dressing smartly for your professional life]