By Peggy Noe Stevens
1. Dress code – Always be clear on the dress code for any occasion to avoid the possibility of being under- or overdressed. Always dress on the more conservative side of whatever code your workplace follows, especially if that code is “business casual.”
2. Clothing and fit – Always to wear clothes that fit. Many people avoid shopping for clothes because they can’t seem to find the right fit. I strongly suggest that, no matter your size, you find a great tailor to work with. Your tailor will have your true measurements, so you can either purchase clothing and have it tailored later or select styles that the tailor can make for you. There is an old expression: It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.
3. Accessories – Always skip chintzy accessories. For women, these include distracting bracelets and gaudy pins and scarves. For men, it would be ties or lapel pins with messages or hobbyist imagery, large belt buckles, and anything in the watch or key chain realm that does not express professionalism.
4. Makeup – Women can give their look more vibrancy with the use of basic makeup. Outlandish makeup styles not only may be off-putting, but also take too much “face time” in front of the mirror each day. For years I complacently attempted a trial-and-error process, buying brand after brand, chasing colors that I thought were appropriate and following the trends (e.g., eyeliner inside the lower eyelid in the 1980s). It was not until I worked with a makeup artist and received a frank lesson on application that I learned what truly works—and what wasn’t working for me at all.
5. Fixes and repairs – Never muddle through an important business occasion with a clothing “fail.”
Here are a few suggestions for things you can do to prepare in a pinch:
• Always keep a change of clothes in the office or your car.
• When traveling by airplane, always pack miniature toiletries and one change of clothing (the essentials) in your carry-on baggage, just in case.
• Put together a small repair kit