Tenue professionnelle : les erreurs à ne pas faire !

Professional attire: mistakes not to make!

Professional attire: mistakes not to make!

Is dressing professionally at work still important?

With ready-to-wear stores on every street corner, increasingly casual or sportswear fashion and fewer and fewer brands offering tailor-made clothing, it's easy to think that the way you dress to get to work has no or no more importance. 

If so, you are far from reality. The psychology behind clothing for work hasn't changed in centuries. Most employees make do with a modest salary and their career progresses as slowly as their self-esteem rapidly declines. 

Do you want to place yourself on the first step of the podium? To be considered a rich and powerful woman? In this case, don't follow the herd and the way your colleagues or collaborators dress at work . Believe us, most are wrong. 

A truth as sad as it is shocking

Yes, casual clothes are comfortable but here's an alarming statistic: 

Human resources professionals say that 95% of people dress poorly at work. Ninety-five percent! What benefit can you get from such a result? By dressing properly, you can stand out from other employees and be part of the remaining five percent. 

Combine an exceptional skill set with a well-groomed, tailored look and you can almost decide how much your monthly salary will be. 

So, how should you go about dressing professionally? Just start by avoiding the most common mistakes women make with their work outfits. 

Favor comfort over credibility

Most employees who advocate casual attire at work insist that they would be more productive if they wore comfortable clothing. In reality this is not the case. Research shows the exact opposite. Casual clothing usually leads to an equally casual attitude, botched tasks, and missed deadlines. 

How can you build a great reputation with shoddy work and missed deadlines  ? Answer: You can't. 

Your reputation must be built on excellence: you must be worthy of trust, authority and demonstrate competence. According to research, this is exactly what you feel and convey by dressing formally. The way you dress determines the way you behave. 

So, if you dress sloppily, you will also act that way. On the other hand, if you dress professionally, you will act professionally throughout the day. It's not rocket science, is it? You are what you wear and act according to your daily outfits!

Are you tired of mediocrity in your workplace or industry? Look at how people dress. Then do the opposite…and see what happens. 

Not understanding the purpose of professional attire

We sleep in pajamas. We wear swimsuits for swimming. We put on suitable outfits for doing sports. We opt for evening wear for special occasions and/or to party. For what ? Quite simply because certain types of clothing are intended for specific activities. 

So why do so many people wear the same clothes to work that they wear to the movies, shopping or walking in the forest? Why don't these people adopt specific clothing based on these activities? Are they too poor to afford it? Maybe. This was also the case in the past. People wore the same clothes day after day regardless of the activity. They simply couldn't do otherwise. And, for those who could afford to have outfits adapted to each situation (the tuxedo jacket for going to smoke with gentlemen after dinner, clothes for golf, tennis, etc.), these outfits designed for multiple activities symbolized a lack of income and little education. 

You know what ? It's always like that. 

Business clothing has a specific purpose: doing business. Have you ever wondered why in certain fields like banking, politics, law...employees always wear formal outfits?  Quite simply because money, laws, people's lives, etc. are at stake. You must be taken seriously. A professional outfit conveys this seriousness and any other outfit will not do it as well. 

So, when employees go to work in shorts, sportswear...the only message they send is that they do not understand what is expected of them and what is appropriate for their role. In other words, they unconsciously transmit a lack of education. This is probably one of the reasons why they don't get promoted. 

People in positions of power and authority know what is needed. They have learned it and know how to benefit from it on a daily basis. 

Learn and understand the importance of professional clothing and attire so you can, in turn, use it to your advantage. 

Not knowing the appropriate clothing for your sector of activity

If professional outfits convey the seriousness appropriate and necessary for the function, some can be too “powerful” and are not suitable for all sectors of activity. This doesn't mean you should abandon them completely, however. 

You simply need to borrow the appropriate elements from your industry and adapt them to your needs. 

Fortunately, most industries have already done much of this work and have designated their own uniform. So there are clearly defined uniforms for the army, medicine...and others less defined for more traditional professions. 

This type of function is usually where most people have problems. When your company doesn't clearly say or write down what it expects from your work attire, it leads to all sorts of interpretations. 

Some managers believe that they do not have to tell their employees how they should dress to come to work. Unfortunately, they are later surprised to see employees in flip-flops, crop tops or strapless dresses. They are offended by gothic or bling-bling outfits… 

If you pay people to work for you, you are paying them to represent your company. You have every right to tell them how they should dress to promote your brand as long as you don't overdo it, of course. 

Hospitals tell their employees how to dress. The military too. Even fast food chains do it. These business sectors determined which uniforms were appropriate for their industry. They know exactly what clothing will convey the desired message (authority, cleanliness, power, etc.) and insist that their employees adopt the defined outfits. This is also why some of these companies represent billions of euros. 

If you don't dress according to your industry and go for the latest trend or what suits you personally, not only are you wasting money but you are signaling to everyone that you are not do not know the essentials of your sector of activity and that you lack education. Is this really the message you want to convey? 

Not knowing what is right for your position

A governess and a head waiter do not dress the same way. The person in charge of welcoming customers at the reception of a hotel does not wear the same outfit as the person responsible for the establishment's green spaces. Although these employees all work in the same industry (hospitality), the clothing requirements of their jobs can vary greatly. If their outfit is suitable, you will know their function at a glance. On the other hand, if they are not dressed properly, you will struggle to tell them apart. 

If you are responsible for reception, you probably do not want to be confused with the “housekeeper”. It is of course an honorable and difficult job, however, it requires relatively simple skills and is generally poorly paid. That's why for most people it's a first job like stocking shelves or carrying trays of hamburgers. 

A person who develops skills allowing them to have a better paid job will not want to be treated the way people at the first level unfortunately are. These people are in fact poorly paid and are neglected or even ignored. It's sad but it's part of our culture. 

We have tended to think in terms of hierarchy for centuries. Those at the bottom receive the lowest salaries and are often less respected, while those at the very top receive the highest salaries and the most respect. 

How do we differentiate between them? By their appearance, their behavior and the way they express themselves. 

This means that if your goal is to reach the next level but you dress like everyone else, you probably won't get it. You need to dress for the job you want, not the one you already have. 

Do you want to have a high-end clientele while dressing as if you were offering products at discount prices? Good luck. 

Your customers, your superiors...will treat you the same way you treat yourself. 

Dress properly. Wear professional outfits appropriate to your role or the position you are seeking. You will be surprised at how quickly you will achieve your goals. 

Wearing the wrong colors

Color psychology specialists say that dark, neutral colors work best for traditional businesses, while lighter, brighter colors are more suited to people-oriented businesses. 

You can also see this by looking at the information. Not only the  Presenters generally wear dark colors but also speakers or people affected by the topics covered, such as businessmen or politicians. 

Neutral and dark shades simply give an impression of seriousness. 

However, not all companies require these types of tints. So, you will find lighter shades in places like nursery schools, amusement parks...anywhere where the atmosphere is joyful and lighter. 

We invite you to discover and understand the psychology of colors that we have already mentioned in a previous article. It may be worth mastering this one because it's one of the easiest ways to get what you want. Just like poor use of colors in your outfits can harm you. Wear work outfits with colors appropriate to your professional situation. You will be delighted with the results. 

Wearing the wrong accessories

Just like clothing, accessories help convey the right message. They must therefore be of good quality, complement your outfit perfectly and convey the same message of seriousness and professionalism. Of course, they must not distract your contacts and colleagues either. 

You can choose to stand out a little by opting for neutral and professional suits that you will enhance with magnificent colored pumps or with patterns that are as original as they are elegant. On the other hand, avoid accessories that are sometimes too trendy and which bring no credibility to your outfit: T-shirt with a “rebel” message, Disney princess-style necklace, Hello Kitty handbag… Even if you think it will give you a cute and original look, you will above all give a childish image of yourself. 

Use accessories that complement your professional ensembles and help convey the image your business wants. You must be professional and impeccable from head to toe. So don't wear anything that could harm you. 

Opt for an old-fashioned appearance

You know that the fashion industry organizes fashion shows several times a year to show off the latest trends, right? This is often an opportunity to pay attention to new makeup styles and new haircuts. If you are used to browsing our articles, you probably know that we rarely invite you to jump on the latest trends. However, you shouldn't get stuck in an outdated era and evolve with makeup or a haircut that doesn't match what your contemporaries are wearing. Goodbye to the Dallas-style blow-drys of the 1980s, the tousled style of the 1990s, etc. You clearly can't wear makeup and do your hair like you did during your student years. Do not do that ! 

Times change, hairstyles evolve and so do the way of applying makeup. Do you remember this trend of wearing a contrasting line around the edges of the lips in the 2000s? OMG! Imagine for a moment what an outfit perfectly tailored to your company and completed with such makeup would look like? 

If you want to look young and dynamic, you need to sport a style that is perfectly in tune with the times. Do not hesitate to watch tutorials on Youtube, if necessary. Today, there are tons of channels dedicated to makeup and hairdressing. And the good news is that you will inevitably find channels adapted to your lifestyle and your age group. 

Once you've opted for up-to-date makeup and hairstyles, you'll be delighted with the attention you'll get. 

Dressing inconsistently

Business outfit one day, casual outfit the next, and trendy outfit the day after that... If you are not consistent in the style of the outfits you wear to the office, you will give the impression that you are not consistent in your work. That's not what you want, is it? So, what is the best strategy to adopt on a daily basis? 

Opt for a personal uniform. 

Once you have determined what clothing is best suited to your company and position, create one or more appropriate outfits that you can wear day after day. This way, if you are consistent in the style and pieces you wear to work, you will achieve two results: 

  • First, you'll save time every morning by getting dressed in the blink of an eye because you'll know in advance what you can wear. 

  • Secondly, you will convey an image of coherence both in terms of your outfits and your way of viewing your work and the missions entrusted to you. 

Humans have always used representations and symbols to climb the hierarchy. As with everything, there are right ways to do it and there are also wrong ways to do it. 

Here are two of the worst ways to do it: 

1. Using counterfeit goods. 

Of course, opting for counterfeiting is a way to save money. Counterfeits are certainly cheaper but beyond the fact that they are also of poor quality, they will also give a bad image of you. 

If you trace the source of these counterfeit products, you will quickly see that they generally lead to two types of groups: human traffickers and exploiters and terrorist organizations. This means that not only are these groups stealing the designs of major brands but also the lives of thousands of people. Also, even if the counterfeit product appears to be of quality, you do not want to support this type of business. 

2. Spending more than you can afford

If you think that going into debt for a bag or Haute Couture clothes will allow you to gain importance and give the illusion of greater status, you are wrong! The only thing you're going to convey by wearing products that your salary logically cannot afford is that you don't know how to manage your money. Some companies like to know how job candidates manage their personal finances. This is especially the case for jobs where it is necessary to manage or supervise money. 

Does this worry you? Be more careful in choosing the symbols you use to demonstrate your status. Wait until you earn a much higher income before investing in a high-end handbag. Do not invest unnecessarily in clothes designed by great couturiers or great stylists. Wait until you have a position and a salary that allows you to do this without compromising your personal financial situation. 

Each of the topics we discuss here could be the subject of a single article. We've covered some of these topics in more depth. The purpose of this is only to get you to be strategic in building your professional wardrobe . 

While most people think that clothing is of no real importance in the business world, this is far from the truth. 

Most human resources managers believe that employees do not dress properly for the role they hold or wish to hold. So, avoid listening to the first person when it comes to how to dress at work because chances are they don't know what they're talking about. 

Instead, shape your wardrobe according to what the important players in your company wear, those who have the salary, position, missions and lifestyle that you want. 

Become a woman of influence. Dress in clothing appropriate to your position and company. Once you improve your appearance, you will be shocked at how quickly things will start to change in your life. 

For what ? Because when you are one of the few people who know how to dress properly in the workplace, you will stand out like a rare unicorn and people will start coming to you. 

SO ? Ready to take the plunge? 

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