Style Advice / July 18th, 2016

What to Wear for Career Growth

Progression is built into our DNA.

We all want to grow in some way, shape or form. There’s no getting around it.

What I find amazing about growth is that we pretty much have full control regarding how much or how little of it takes place.

This isn’t any more apparent than with your career.

When you think about your career, one of the first things you realize is that it spans a huge chunk of your life. In fact, it’s one of the longest and most measurable roadmaps you can use to track progress.

While the hunger for learning and the passion to succeed are the most critical factors of growing your career and building value, they aren’t enough.

You still need that icing on the cake.

A man’s style and the way he presents himself are key aspects that can be used to gain a competitive advantage over other internal or even external forces in your organization.

While thinking this over, I thought it would be cool to list, at a high-level, the items that should be in your wardrobe based on your profession. This is strictly based on my opinion and the clients that I work(ed) with.

Without further ado….

The Corporate Executive / Professional Services Employee

This section is for the lawyers, financial analysts and anyone else working in the corporate world.

Why You Should Consider Style – Well, if first impressions matter at all in the workforce than the corporate world would be it’s center of gravity. Think of it, you are a professional. We all expect professionals to look and act the part while fully displaying class. It’s just the way it is.

Your Go-To Outfit – Nothing but a charcoal, slim fitted suit would do. You can pair this with foundational colored shirts like light blue, white or pale pink. Always wear a tie.

Your Style Philosophy – Dress to impress and dress like your bosses boss. However, don’t completely overshadow your superiors as you could end up in hot water.

Casual Friday’s? – Look at your fellow co-workers and slightly kick it up a notch. Be in the corporate industry; try to wear trousers and a dress shirt (without the tie) as the bear minimum.

The Creative Type / Marketing Professional

This section is for people who work in marketing, a creative agency or any industry where creativity is a key driver.

Business casual is my choice for you. You can dress up or dress down your look depending on your company’s culture. However, always give the impression that you’re smart and can more than handle the criteria contained within your job description.

Why You Should Consider Style – There is more ways to show off how creative and innovative you are than just your work. Think of it….Style is all about creativity and being well coordinated.

Your Go-To Outfit – Fitted dark blue jeans, a slim fitted white dress shirt and a tailored blazer. Either navy blue or grey would work. No tie needed. As for accessories, stick with brown.

Your Style Philosophy – Marketing and creative folk are full of personality. Let your unique personality shine through in the clothes you where while keeping in conservative. I don’t care how casual your environment is, no hoodies or bright colors!

Casual Friday’s? – Stick with jeans but instead of the blazer, through on a nice V-Neck sweater or cardigan over your dress shirt. Be casual and comfy while looking sharp in the process.

The Developer / Technical Professional

If you work at a huge tech start up, social media giant, or a company that prides itself in pushing the technology envelope, then this section is for you.

Why You Should Consider Style – Being innovative in your line of work is that much better when it goes hand-in-hand with your style. Your work is cutting edge and the state of humanity could very well rest in the palms of your hands. Don’t you want to look representable when basking in the limelight?

Your Go-To Outfit – Jeans with a pair of brown or blue moccasins will go nicely with a dress shirt and V-Neck sweater pairing. For an even more casual look, swap the dress shirt for a white crew neck t-shirt and you’re good to go.

Your Style Philosophy – Given your brain is in overdrive pondering new ideas and working code, you want to be as comfortable as possible with everything else. Just don’t keep comfort as your only priority at the expense of style.

Casual Friday’s? – Hey, most tech start-ups keep it pretty casual already! Stick to the comfier side of business casual and Friday’s will be like any other day of the week…. amazing.

The Factory Worker / Manual Laborer

If you don’t have the typical office job and work in a more physical environment, I’m lumping you in the section.

Putting in some hard manual labor during your day job can be tough. I’m not going to lie, truly expressing your style when working manual labor is much more difficult than the other professions listed above.

But it’s not an excuse to let yourself go.

Why You Should Consider Style – Just because you are sweating it out in the factory or field, doesn’t mean you can’t be judged, especially by your appearance! Always aim to look your best. Opportunity strikes rather infrequently so you want to be prepared when the time comes.

Your Go-To Outfit – Comfort is king. Classic fitted jeans and a white, plain polo shirt would work well.

Your Style Philosophy – Your goal is to be presentable, well groomed and full of personality. Try to stick out (in a good way) by incorporating the little things. Well-coordinated colors, clean shoes and fitted clothing gets noticed more than you realize.

Casual Friday’s? – Not really applicable here. Stay comfortable and do your best based on the limitations thrown at you!

So what do you think? As mentioned earlier, hard work, dedication and being presentable will make you a winning candidate for career growth within your organization. Keep chipping away to be the best version of yourself at work (and at life!) and I have know doubt your career will reach new heights.