When you are dressing for success you must pay attention to everything. Small details make a lasting impression and are vital to your finished look:
- The length of your pants. Ladies, the standard hem rule for a full length pant is ¼ to a ½ inch from dragging the ground. The front hem should slightly “break”, covering the top of your foot but not folding over the entire toe box of the shoe, draping like a tent. Nor, should it hover above the top of your foot. For both men and women, the perfect length often requires the aid of a good tailor. Take in a pair of shoes that you plan to wear with the pants and have the pants tailored to that particular shoe. Interchanging shoes from flat to a higher heel doesn’t work, unless your pants hit at the ankle. Warning, not many women can successfully pull off a pair of ankle length pants. If you insist, wear them to work with a sophisticated heel, rather than a loafer or flat shoe.
- The perfect work shoe. Who says you can’t have a pretty shoe that is also comfortable? A stylish mid heel can take you throughout the day if you choose a pair that properly fits your particular foot. Make friends with your shoe salesman and ask their advice on what shoe is best for your particular foot. You may love a 4 inch heel but can barely walk from your desk to the office kitchen – that shoe is not for you. A steep vamp is difficult to wear for some, while others prefer it over a platform. Spend some quality time at the shoe department and try on different shapes and sizes. Ask the salesperson to call you when your favorite brand is about to go on sale. My summer choice for a hot day:
Warning: Rubber flip flops or a sandal with a strap worn between the toe is generally too casual for a conservative office environment. But, if you are walking multiple blocks, and riding the subway in the scorching summer heat, a comfortable sandal may be a lifesaver. Just make sure to take them off and slip on your neutral colored sling back pumps before walking into the building. Here’s an office don’t:
- The right bag. A briefcase or purse does not have to be ugly to look professional. If you are toting around a scuffed, overworked and lifeless piece of leather, you are not sending the proper message. You may think you are saying, “Carrying this bag says I’m a hard worker”, while what you are really saying is, “I’m fine traipsing around town with this dirty bag.” Consider carrying a stylish purse that can double as a briefcase to carry your files. This is one of my favorites, though you can certainly find the look for less than this original:
- A light weight cardigan. Don’t think of your cardigan as only a piece of outerwear that keeps you warm in the cool air conditioning. Incorporate it into your office outfit and peel it off in the summer heat. If it’s something you grab to take the dog out before you leave for work, put it back and pick the dressier version that is more appropriate for work. I have a favorite sweater that I wear if I’m traveling but I only slip it on AFTER takeoff. I put it back in my tote as we land. It’s soft and I can use it to keep warm, or as a pillow. But, I would not let it see my office corridor!
- The length of your sleeve. Nothing says “I am wearing my neighbors hand me down” like a man’s dress shirt sleeve that is too long. According to brooksbrothers.com, “the cuff should end around the knobby wrist bone below your thumb, allowing a ½ inch of your dress shirt to show.” Men will argue about their length preference, some like ¼ inch for a button shirt, while others prefer a ½ inch for a shirt worn with a cuff link. As long as a man is paying attention to the length, it’s a positive move. When purchasing a fine dress shirt, choose a style with a neck size and arm length, rather than a S-M-L-XL.
- Buttons. A shirt with a missing button, or a dress with buttons that unintentionally don’t match will make a distracting and lasting impression. Before you drop your garment off at the dry cleaner, take inventory of any necessary repairs. Don’t walk out the door with a cracked or broken off button, or a loose button that could pop off at any time…usually the wrong time.
- Your wallet. You’ve had your wallet for 5 years? Strike one! What, you don’t carry a wallet? Strike two! Holding your bills together with a paper clip, or carrying a wallet that has been repaired with duct tape is not a polished look. Imagine attempting to convince a potential client that you are the best candidate for the job while paying for her latte with stray bills falling from the rubber-band holding your dollars together. Invest in a good quality wallet today.
- Your technology case. While you may have a playful side, or you are known for your dry wit, when it comes to business, even something as mundane as your iPhone case is up for review. Here is a do and a don’t:
Every detail matters and the less another person sees of your smartphone, the better off you will be.