Dressing the Part: Real Talk
If you Google what to wear to a professional event or an interview the answers are always the same; wear a suit, avoid flashy colours, stick with long skirts/dresses, no open-toed shoes and don't forget the nude-coloured pantyhose! Now don't get me wrong, these are some great guidelines, (and I'll be sure to post an online resource of my outfit essentials) but you end up with the same outfit you wore to all your other events and interviews...boring! Or so I thought.
I attended a conference at the beginning of March and I took FOREVER to decide what to wear. Outfit after outfit, I was dissatisfied. My cardigan was too bright, my dress pants too baggy and my footwear was summer sandals. Was I being hard on myself? Absolutely. Did I want to go to the mall and buy new outfits? Of course! Did I? No.
A few days after the conference, I recalled a conversation I had with a friend the week before. We were discussing the conference and she had asked me, "So, if someone comes up to you and asks you what your business is about, what will you say?" I was at a loss for words. So embarrassing! It was all fun and games planning my stylish outfits, until I realized I was putting more effort into what I would wear to this event rather than what I would say about myself and my business.
Believe me when I tell you that your outfits do not speak for you nor determine your fate. I had the most meaningful conversations of my career at that conference, and my "outfits" did not come up once as a topic.
The biggest takeaway I want you to have is that, you don't have to look the part, you are the part. The biggest power you have is you.
I think throughout our lives, many of us have been told and taught the importance of "looking the part" or "dressing appropriately for the role." We are shown through social media how important our appearance is in certain situations. These are crucial pieces of advice and I promise to touch on them later in an online resource, but they completely miss the mark when it comes to interviews, or having critical conversations about your future. Looking the part is one thing, but being the part is a whole other ballpark. You could go into an interview with a flashy yellow and orange top, and mismatching socks, and still land the job because you were qualified, confident, personable and willing to do the work. I believe in you.
It's so easy to think that you need to look a certain way or wear certain clothes in order for people to take you seriously and respect you, but it goes so much more beyond that. People will value you and your work no matter who you are! I'm all for staying on trend, and dressing for the role, but don't lose sight of what really matters in those conversations or events. You do not have to look the part, you are the part.
Till next time,