Welcome to my column… You Can Be…!

My first article addressed the issue of how you see yourself. Mysecond article dealt with how others see you. In this third and final installment on the topic of Self Presentation, I discuss “Dressing for Success” and the impression that you make on others.

Your fashion sense informs others about you. You can reveal your own special personality and individuality through the use of it. Fashion is an essential, challenging and an always-changing force.

Colors are important, as well. They can often reflect your taste and mood. Colors can also make a very exciting impact. Everyone has their own special colors, which when used correctly, can bring about a small change, or an entirely different look.

I think one of the most exciting aspect of fashion is that is always changes. Year by year, season by season, collection by collection, there is always something new and different. At the same time, there are some things that always remain the same – the classics.

Some advice that can really help you as you build the foundation of your wardrobe is to remember that you can’t go wrong with the

classics. When building a wardrobe, it is best to stick to the basics and opt to stay on the somewhat conservative side with your choices. Trendy can be fun, but it can also be very costly. Use good judgment and put thought into colors, patterns, textures and styles.

The best way to build a wardrobe is to “build by priority.” First, buy the clothes that you need. Then buy the clothes that you want. Think quality not quantity. Take the time to put together the right wardrobe; one suited toward both your work and leisure time and

looks that can be interchanged on occasion, when needed.

Let’s start with dressing for the workplace. There are many options available to women today. It’s important to remember individual choices reflect your personal taste and personality. Think first, about making a good and lasting impression.

Develop your own sense of style. Create a look that works for you -from your head to your toes. That will be “your image.” When you make your choices, keep in mind that you are also trying to portray a “winning image”. Putting together a wardrobe that covers all of these bases can be as simple as the following example.

This is an example of a basic, stable, classic wardrobe, using soft colors such as greys, peaches or pinks, and creams, and fabrics like gabardine, silk and cotton. It can be considered business or upscale casual.

It consists of:

  • 2-Piece Grey Suit with a Skirt
  • Cream Blouse
  • Cream Skirt
  • Grey Short Sleeve Top
  • Peach or Pink Sweater
  • Peach or Pink, or Grey Pants
  • Grey, Cream, Peach or Pink, Pearl Necklace & Matching Earrings
  • Neutral/Skin Tone, Cream & Grey Pantyhose
  • 2 Pairs of Shoes (Closed-Toe Pumps): Grey & Cream
  • 2 Leather Belts: A Grey & A Cream
  • 2 Purses: Grey & Cream
  • Grey & Cream Nice Dress Hat (optional)

We’ll start with a simple 2 piece grey suit. Skirt lengths can vary, anywhere from just above the knee to the floor. Lines of the skirts can vary, from a straight A-line to a full- swinging skirt.

Let’s choose an A-line skirt that falls just above, at, or below the knee; one will be cream and the other one will be from the grey suit. Now choose a cream colored silk, long sleeve blouse and a grey silk short sleeve top. A peach or pink colored cardigan sweater can then be added for color, warmth and versatility. Select a matching pair of peach or pink, or grey pants, without cuffs (which can “shorten” the look).

As stable pieces you’ll need three pairs of pantyhose (neutral/skin tone, cream and grey). To accessorize, you’ll need two clutch purses, two pairs of shoes (closed–toe pumps)and two leather belts (one grey and the other one cream colored). Select the correct neutral colored undergarments (bra, panties, and slip). For jewelry, let’s use a mixed strand of grey, peach or pink, and cream pearls with matching earrings.

Now let’s put it all together. Start with the suit. Just to make it easy to visualize the changes as we make them, pretend you’re in your bedroom at home. Lay the two-piece grey suit on your bed. Place the cream blouse next to it. Now add your cream hose, grey shoes and purse.

Now put everything away and bring out the cream skirt and cream blouse. This skirt has belt loops so we’ll use the cream belt. Add the cream pantyhose, cream shoes and cream purse. This is called “tonal” dressing. This is dressing in all the same color or different shades of it.

Now put everything away except the cream skirt and bring out the grey top. A grey belt with grey shoes and grey purse along with cream or neutral hose will complete this outfit. Consider adding a hat where appropriate or desired, for a fashionable addition. A small brimmed cream and grey hat that would finish the look nicely.

Now, clear everything away once more and put the peach or pink cardigan with the matching pants, on the bed. Add the following in the cream color: blouse, hose, belt, shoes and purse.

You have just mixed and matched a wonderful ensemble for a day at the office, an early evening event, or a weekend outing with friends to the club.

Now, there are some additional pieces that you may want to consider. One is a grey medium weight (gabardine) raincoat (with a zip-out lining). This material travels well, resisting wrinkles easily. Add a pair of matching boots, a heavier-weight hat, gloves and scarf that will protect you on those bad weather days.

Dressing for success is more than just coordinating your outfit. It’s putting on your nicest smile and stepping out with your best foot forward – making your best impression. Dressing for success is a combination of style and attitude – a good attitude. Don’t forget, as the day wears on; keep yourself fresh and alert, to keep that initial impression a good and lasting one!