Dressed for success

"I think, therefore I am." However, there is only so much your brain can do. Sure, you can imagine success and chart your progress to the top, but meanwhile, you also need to look the part. This is especially so for those who are in the service line; Their jobs require them to appear well-groomed and spruced up for action at all times. Ask executives in the banking and finance industry and they might teach you a trick or two looking immaculate in the wee hours of the morning.

By Tania Heng

Yes, we’re talking about power-dressing. What you wear says a lot about you. Not only does it reflect your taste in fashion, it also reveals clues about your character and personality. For the ladies, a tailored shirt of solid colours such as navy, dark brown, grey or black, paired with clean-lined pants, and a well-cut jacket screams “I mean business!”, while togging a pair of open-toe heels, matched with casual blouse and knee-length skirt, suggests that you’re headed to just another humdrum day at a desk-bound job.

We’ve come a long way from the time when women wore calf-length skirts and men donned pin-striped shirts accessorized with dull-coloured ties, or even stuffy bow-ties! Nowadays, power-dressing usually comes in two flavours – the ‘professional’ business attire and the chic ‘casual’ business attire.

The professional business look is the most conservative corporate attire which includes a formal business suit in a solid or pin-striped pattern. Other than the somber colours mentioned above, white and pastel-coloured blouses are usually acceptable as well. Court shoes and pumps with a closed heel and toe compliment the look. As for the men, you can never go wrong with a French-cuffed shirt and crease-free pants, matched with a colour-coordinated tie and exquisite cufflinks. Sometimes, it’s the minor details that distinguish you from the average Jane or Joe next door. An intricate brooch or a skinny belt can really make all the difference.

As for the casual business attire, it’s a smart mix of chic apparel that can be dressed up or down, depending on what you accessorize it with. Throw over a tailored jacket with unique prints for a sharp yet fashionable look or a cotton camisole or striking-coloured scarf to jazz up your outfit. Sometimes, even silky halter-neck tops can be professionally chic, as long as you conceal your bared back under a well-cut jacket!

Dressing well and dressing smart can sometimes affect your work performance as well. This may not always be true, but most would agree that turning up at work in a sloppy and scruffy attire does make you feel somewhat wretched. When you look good, you’d tend to feel good as well. Who knows? That extra dash of colour may be all you’d need to perk up another dreary Monday.

Whatever the case, successful people must maintain a image that befits their profession. It’s all part of a total package - your body language, communication skills and dress sense all combine to leave a lasting first impression. Even though we usually tell ourselves not to judge a book by its cover, the cover alone often speaks volumes about its contents.

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