You know they say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. It’s why I tend to dress a little like an early-era Stevie Nicks. And why this photo caption is funny.
What they mean, though, is that you should emulate the higher ups in your company – or at other companies – in whose footsteps you would like to follow.
That’s one of the tips in this infographic from New Look on women’s business attire for the workplace and job interview.
These days, in many industries, you can deviate from some of the more staid fashion norms we’ve seen in offices up until recent years. Now we see sleeveless dresses, tank tops, flip flops, skinny jeans, and tattoos in offices. But you should still always be well groomed and well covered. Regardless, the advice here is still sound (though I do feel the need to say that I did notice the grammatical error in the header – just so you don’t think I missed it).
More tips include: don’t wear anything ripped, and no leggings or yoga pants. Yes, please let’s pass on the word that leggings are not pants, and that they make a poor substitute. Not everyone seems to have gotten this memo. Keep the cleavage under wraps, groom your feet if you’re going to show them, and ixnay on the three inch platform pumps.
It’s suggested that you keep your nails manicured with a light, neutral polish. I flout this rule regularly with flashy nail art. But that doesn’t mean you have to.
Some good research on dressing for success was recently conducted by the Harvard Business School. Authors of a paper titled The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity found that those who deliberately flout conventional norms of style and appearance, can actually appear to have a higher level of power than those who don’t.
Note, however, that key to making this work is being clear that your nonconformity is intentional: a confident expression of individuality and creativity. If it seems like you are simply unaware of how you’re supposed to dress, then you risk people thinking you’re just clueless.
Note also that you should usually err on the conservative side for the interview. You can let your freak flag fly later.
Here are New Look’s tips for dressing for the workplace.