I had written a post about this same topic three years ago but I felt it was time to revisit it. Here is a passage from the first post:
I can’t imagine you haven’t heard this English idiom. Essentially what it means is you should not prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone, however, when the reputation of the business is lowered due to the “appearance” of its employees – the line needs to be drawn. When I interview a potential candidate for this relatively simple sales associate position, my first reaction is based on punctuality. My second thought is based on appearance. My third thought is based on personality (due to the nature of our small shop, personality is key to the team working well together.) My fourth thought is about the ability to do the job well.
Working in fashion retail for all these years and any appointment I have gone to in a business oriented environment, I am always seeing black. Black, black and more black. I understand though as black business suits are easy you just swap out the blouse underneath to change it up. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but you didn’t come to this blog to hear me talk about basic black business attire! I love colour, even if its only present in my heels and jewellery. I feel a world of difference when I wear it.
I dropped off a resume and portfolio package to a potential employer one morning wearing this very exciting bright coloured combo. Although its not quite what I envisioned in my dark dreary basement wardrobe room that morning, I thought the coral blazer matched the dress perfectly, but as it turns out in day light its orange in the dress, not coral. Oh well the fun citrus colours do play well off each other!
My philosophy has always been to make a statement when dropping off a resume or interviewing. I first thought of this years ago when I was at an interview for a local government office position with dark brown hair, sporting hot pink underneath. I styled my hair up so that it was less noticeable and died it solid brown after I was hired for my first day. When the CEO walked into the office that day her first reaction was “Oh! Where did the pink go? It was so cool!” Over the next month different employees would walk in and say “you’re the girl with the pink hair, but where’s the pink?” Who knew it would make such a statement!
Now not only is bold bright colours and patterns part of my every day wardrobe, I make a point of wearing a striking bright dress with matching jewellery and a blazer for any professional meetings or events. Making a statement is everything! You can get lost in the crowd of black business suits so make sure you are wearing something “wow”!
I’m not traditional, by any stretch of imagination. Every day I push the boundaries of fashion in my little world exploring new fabrics, layering and accessorizing. I don’t see professional as being limited to black and grey as most people come to believe. They instantly grab the black suit, white collared shirt, pumps and tiny stud earrings. Blah.
Years ago I learned that in interviews to be memorable, sometimes your presentation has to be exciting moreso than whats on the paper in front of them. I went to an interview for a small community township office reception job, at the time I had dark brown hair with pink underneath and I styled it in such a way that it looked more professional (along with the outfit of course!) and not as loud. When I was hired and arrived for my first day of work I had re-dyed my hair to be more professional and the CEO walked in and said “where did the pink go?!”
Little did I know the staff in the meeting remembered me and referred to me as the girl with pink hair… It stood out rather than “the brunette in the black suit” … hmm not so memorable. From then on I was dressing professional but in my thrifty fun way and they loved it. That office was excited to see what I wore each day. Every day is new and exciting so its more fun to dress as such!
I’ve been asked a few times about a business look for an interview or new job and to be honest my style isn’t that much different when I’m working in a “professional” environment. I’m still colourful and fun, I just add more on the accessory side and more formal footwear. I’ve put together a few of my favourite business looks I’ve worn to the studio in the last two years so you can see the array of styles that are totally office appropriate – unless your office wants a boring black suit of course!
Because of my curves I like to have bright print skirts paired with a matching blouse (usually sleeveless so my arms fit in the blazer sleeves!) and a basic solid colour blazer. Unless I’m wearing a substantial pashmina, necklaces are a must they just add that finishing touch. I’m told pointed toes are on the way out, haha, not in my world! I think a pointed toe is extremely classy and make any outfit look polished. Fitted black jeggings paired with a pointed toe heel or flat is everything. The easiest way to look office ready without trying too hard.
Over the past month I have been doing a lot of interviews to fill a part time position at the store. I am very disheartened in how the public simply does not care about how they present themselves. I am saying this in the most broad sense of the phrase. People in general do not care about anything, things in life have less value. We raise our children to be strong, stand up to bullies – by not caring. To wear whatever we chose – by not caring. To use our right to free speech – by not caring.
As a population, young and old, we no longer care about anything. I could go on for days discussing the social fall of humanity, point fingers at television or bad parenting, or simply blame those with more money than I do for not being fair. In this case, women of any age delivering resumes both hand written and typed into the store as has been the norm for generations, but in yoga pants. They show up looking like they rolled out of bed, as if they didn’t mean to go out in public they were simply doing their laundry at home… Continue Reading