The art of power dressing

How to make a good first impression, feel confident, earn the respect of your clients and colleagues, and advance in your career, whichever field you choose.

You’ve come a long way – from your schooling years to your current job. Education, experience and skill may land you the job, but power dressing primes you well to scale up the corporate ladder.

Dressing appropriately for the job can convey competence, confidence and self-esteem, especially in professional settings. Anyone can use power dressing to leave a great impression!

As the saying goes: ‘Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have’. It is also important to dress according to how you want to feel, and not how you are feeling.

Even if your workplace does not have a strict dress code, always strive to display professionalism. Consider these three things when planning your work outfit: your industry, company and work environment.

For the classy gentleman, well-fitted suits and jackets in tones of charcoal grey, navy blue and black should be the foundation of his wardrobe. They are versatile and perfectly acceptable for all business occasions. In particular, double-breasted suits are statement pieces that take one with a knowledge of style, confidence and a perfect fit to pull off. Wear them on days you want to make a bold statement. Perfect for meeting new clients and clinching that all-important deal!

A white fitted dress shirt is a man’s greatest and most powerful sartorial tool. Simple, classy, versatile and the epitome of gentlemanly elegance. Pair it with timeless shoes – from brogues to oxford, or tasselled loafers – and a fashionable wristwatch to elevate the look. Pick a good cologne and apply your signature scent for the best projection and impression.

Couple your white shirt with a striped tie, or a plain grey shirt with a black tie for formal events. When it comes to formal pants, colours like navy blue, tan, dark grey, khaki brown and dark brown in comfortable fabrics rule the roost and are perfect for the boardroom setting. Add on a jacket to take your style game to the next level.

Gone are the days when formals and blazers were donned by men alone. Women power players can make an equally bold statement with tailor-made and haute-couture suits, blazers and formals.

A blazer or a business suit is the best idea. In warmer weather, go for a lightweight formal jacket that commands authority while still offering warmth in those chilly air-conditioned board rooms. A light cardigan can also do the trick, giving your look a softer touch.

You can never go wrong with basic colours such as navy, sky blue, grey, beige, chocolate, black and white, complemented with an accessory of contrasting colour. For those feeling adventurous, consider colours like olive green, mint green, sea blue, burgundy or dusty pastels. Alternatively, if you want only a hint of colour, just wear the classic colours with one accessory that is contrasting.

Choosing between pants and skirts depends on where you work and what you feel most comfortable in. If you wear pants, select well-fitted ones that are not too tight or too loose. Choose their length according to your body-type – ankle-length trousers or cigarette pants if you are tall, and below-ankle flared trousers if you are petite.

Ideally, neat buns or ponytails work best for long hair, especially in the hot months. But if you are comfortable letting your hair down, make sure that it is well-brushed. Natural and minimalistic make-up is recommended. Wear mascara and concealer that match your skin-tone for wide-awake eyes. For a fresher-looking skin, apply tinted moisturiser or light foundation. Nails are best kept glitter-free.

For jewellery, pearls and precious or semi-precious stones exude elegance. In more professional settings, it is good to wear minimal jewellery like a small pendant or small earrings. Conversely, for more relaxed workplaces, a statement necklace would complement your look. Generally, low-heeled or flat shoes that cover your heels and toes are the best for comfort. Alternatively, if you like to wear high heels, make sure you feel comfortable in them.

Power dressing is one way to make a great first impression. A well-dressed person conveys a message that he/she cares for the job and is meticulous in his/her work. If you are looking to earn the respect of your clients and colleagues, power dressing may just be what you need!