Thursday, April 25, 2013
Dressing The Part
Before I start today's...welp, some people might call it a "rant", but I prefer to think of it as "passionate advice coming from a place of love." Oh, just humor me. Anyhoo, before I start venting, let me just say that I personally have a ton of J.Crew clothing in my closet, but when I see them selling items like this as "professional," I tend to get grumpy. And you wouldn't like me when I'm grumpy.
Considering that even the model looks somewhat shell-shocked by what she’s wearing— though maybe that’s also the effect of J.Crew forbidding the poor girl from brushing her hair—there’s probably not much else you need to know to avoid this “look”.
You have to understand that the workplace doubles as a grueling, non-stop audition process for the professional roles you want. Thus, you have to dress and behave in a manner that is appropriate to your specific industry. So, say, you're an attorney trying, eventually, to be "cast" for senior associate, for partner, for counsel: you have to dress the part you want, so you can embody the part you want.
When you go to work, you represent something bigger than yourself: you represent the corporate brand. You constantly represent the corporate brand. Not many law firms want their corporate brand to have uncombed hair, not to mention a distractingly-odd “suit.” Your firms wants you to fit in, to look and behave as if you understand where you are and what you're doing. If you wear something like this, what will clients think? They'll think, "Did she get dressed in the dark? Is there trouble at home? Oh the poor thing...can somebody handle my divorce please?" and then they'll take their dollars elsewhere, which means you don't meet your billable hours requirement, which means don't buy this suit.
You know where this unfortunate outfit is appropriate? At JCrew HQ. End of story. If you wear this to your office, especially with your hair uncombed, I guarantee that people will 1) laugh openly and 2) refer to you from now on as “JCrew,” as in “Hey, JCrew, go do a Starbucks run for us.” Does that sound mean? Allow me to welcome you to corporate America, which is approximately high school, but without the sex appeal.
Want more sartorial guidance? Don't even play, kid, I know you love it! Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org, and like my Facebook page, "Carlotaworldwide Creativity Yenta," for a free consultation!