Research shows that you only have 7 seconds (or less!) before someone forms an impression of you — so don’t be afraid to use that precious time to your advantage. Indy Maven asked style coach and color analyst Stephanie Grabow, the founder and owner of SG Style Collective, for her insight on how to dress to make the most of your professional image. Read on for five of her must-know tips:
1. Show up as your authentic self.
But, recognize and acknowledge the tension that may exist when you are creating an image that fits in with your organization’s culture, yet still honors who you are authentically. Decide your personal image non-negotiables and stick to them — but be willing to flex in a different area.
Example: Maybe your natural hair or your braids are your non-negotiable because they are centered in who you are, so you flex and agree to wear the ugly company golf shirt to signal that you’re a team player.
2. Shop for your schedule.
In other words, make sure that the clothes you’re putting in your closet are appropriate for the events and meetings on your calendar. The worst anxiety is the “What am I going to wear?” anxiety.
Is your closet filled with virtual-meeting-only yoga pants, but your next six months are filled with client-facing meetings? Be intentional. Look at your calendar and plan ahead so you aren’t stuck in your closet the morning of an important meeting panicking about what to wear.
3. Finish your look.
Wearing an outfit that feels “finished” signals that you’re a person who is organized and plans ahead. You understand that how others perceive you will affect your career path — and, ultimately, your income.
Being finished means making sure that your look is current, your accessories are present and the right scale for the outfit, your shoes coordinate with your look, and your outerwear and bag are appropriate for your outfit.
4. Realize that how you dress affects how you show up.
Your clothing choices, including the color, fit, and style of what you wear, can have a profound impact on your energy, your performance, and your confidence level. When you are dressed in an outfit that you feel confident in, you stand taller and you’re more likely to speak your mind.
5. Get help.
You spent money and time getting your Six Sigma certification and upgrading your networking skills — your professional image is equally as important to your earning potential. If you can’t figure out how to upgrade your image, or if you want a helpful shortcut, hire a style coach or image professional to speed up that process.
Are you a Maven member and ready to hire a style coach? SG Style Collective has you covered! Make sure to check Circle for your exclusive perk from Stephanie Grabow.