In Style + Design

How To Amp Up Your Style For A Promotion

You’ve aced your performance review, smashed your KPIs and got on good terms with the bosses… you’ve done everything you can to get promoted, right? Wrong. If you’re overlooking your style at work, you’re ignoring a useful tool that can help you climb up the career ladder. Here’s how to use your wardrobe to get ahead at work.

Build a solid foundation

Lay the foundation Photo:Harrolds/Facebook

When putting together a work wardrobe, take a cue from the people at the top: your manager, the person in the corner office or the executive whose job you’re jonesing for.

The key here is taking the established office uniform — whether that be a suit or a hoodie and jeans — and elevating it in subtle ways. This will send the message that you’re a good cultural fit, but also help you catch the eye of higher-ups in the workplace. If you work in a corporate environment such as law or finance, impeccably fitted suits in grey or navy paired with crisp shirts in low-key check, stripe or polka-dot patterns will help you make the right impression.

Suit up Photo: Bonobos/Facebook

If you’re in a more creative field, Japanese raw denim, cord or cotton trousers in bold colours, well-fitted tees and button-ups and lightweight bomber jackets and blazers should be your go-tos. These on-trend styles will allow your personality to shine through but still look smart enough for a professional setting.

When purchasing pieces for your work wardrobe keep fabric composition in mind, as it’s one of the primary indicators of quality and comfort. Favour natural, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and wool over synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon and you won’t look wilted at the height of an Australian summer.

Fit is everything

It’s all about the shoulders Photo: Mr Porter/Facebook

Ill-fitting clothing is a dead giveaway that you don’t have an eye for detail, so avoid it at all costs.

Though it can be tempting, don’t purchase clothes for a slimmer future you that doesn’t yet exist and don’t buy clothes that are too oversized, either (you’ll just end up looking bigger than you are). Instead, buy clothes that fit well off the rack, or take pieces to a good tailor and let them work their magic.

Get comfortable with colour and patterns

Pitti Uomo Photo: Robert Sheie/Flickr CC

If you work at a large company, it’s imperative to get on the radar of management and your clothing can help you do so. Colour and print are the obvious way to make a style statement but they tend to strike fear into the hearts of the style-shy, but there are guidelines you can follow to make sure you don’t look like you’ve walked off the set of Playschool.

Incorporate subtle pieces like tasteful patterned socks or printed shirts into your repertoire and you’ll be more memorable than your colleagues who wear run-of-the-mill black, white and beige. The key is to choose classic patterns (gingham, stripes, dots) and colours that are eye-catching but not flashy (avoid neons at all costs).

The pale-skinned should steer clear of light and bright colours or risk looking washed out (jewel and earth tones are your friends here). Those with deeper skin tones look great in both pastel and vibrant hues. If you want further guidance, look to the street style of Pitti Uomo for inspiration of how to mix coloured pieces into your outfits and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Have fun with accessories

Smarten up your accessories Photo: Common Projects/Facebook

Accessories are the easiest way to have fun with your style and establish some style signatures. When it comes to shoes for corporate settings, invest in quality leather oxfords, brogues, monk-strap shoes or Chelsea boots and introduce interest via contrast stitching or textures like pebble-grained leather.

If you’re in a more casual workplace, sneakers can send the signal that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of new trends. Limited edition drops or tried-and-true styles like Common Projects Achilles sneakers or Adidas Stan Smiths are easy wins.

Luxury or vintage watches not only look great, they can also act as great conversation starters in the workplace. Likewise, a classic briefcase, monogrammed document holder or leather backpack can ensure your style is remembered for the right reasons.

Look after what you’ve got

There’s no point putting together the perfect wardrobe if you don’t invest some time in simple maintenance. Take your shoes to a cobbler every season to be resoled and polished and you’ll prolong their lifespan by years (not to mention, you’ll look well put together).

Find experienced dry-cleaners and tailors as they’ll be invaluable in dealing with stains or minor repairs. And regularly replace items like tees and trousers before they start to look worse for wear.

Don’t forget the final touches

Even the most stylish outfit can be undone by sub-par or sloppy grooming. Get your hair cut every four to six weeks, and make sure your facial hair looks polished, whether that involves scheduling regular beard trims or learning how to execute the perfect wet shave. A simple skincare routine of cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen can also keep you looking your best when your promotion rolls around.

(Lead image: Bonobos/Facebook)

Published 23 August, 2018