How to Dress to Win

Dressing for success is something that we have all heard since grade school. Even when career fairs are far from the present day, instructors begin talking about how to dress to best represent yourself. Well, dressing for success can be a meek topic so I’m going to fill you in on dressing to win!

In the corporate world these very stringent dress codes apply and you get your first taste of it at interviews and jobs fairs. If you are like me, you like the idea of dressing up, however, get frustrated with the lack of personal expression. The good news is there are ways to make the impression on these “adulting” tasks of finding employment without feeling like you completely lost your identity. Let’s talk about dressing to win.

Well aren’t you dapper?!

Here is a brief description of dressing for success and dressing to win. The good news for men is that they have less rules, which makes it easier to add a personal touch within the guidelines. It is ideal to start with two suits. Since we are in college and usually on a budget, you can probably get away with one suit. Go with a single breasted suit that is navy blue or dark gray. Avoid sports jackets and blazers on interviews because it can easily strike as too casual. The shirt should be 100% cotton. A simple straight point collar is fine and opt for tie-up shoes over loafers.

Hey ladies!

Dressing to win can be harder or easier for us depending on our style preference because we have so many options within our guidelines. I want to help you narrow down what is best when dressing to win so it won’t be such a hassle getting ready in the morning of your big day. For one, no pants. Yes, this is the 21st century where pant suits are absolutely appropriate and feasible for your interviews. Dress suits can help you dress for success, but I am helping you dress to win. When people image a business women they image her in a dress or sometimes a skirt with a nice blouse. It’s good to have 2-3 go to dresses or skirts that you can wear for anything. Dresses and skirts should not be over 2 inches above your knee. If the dress or blouse is sleeveless, aim for a thick shoulder strap and have a dress blazer with you as well. Heels should not have a big platform on the bottom. They should also be no more than 3 – 4 inches in height. 

But where do I get this on a budget?

Great places to grab your business gear on a budget is always taking advantage of sales. To catch great things on sales, always shop out of season when things are marked down tremendously. Do not buy something right when it comes out, unless you need it immediately. Wait a week or two and save money that you can put toward accessorizing your winning ensemble. Thrift shopping is always a college student’s best friend. There are resources right outside of campus like Uptown Cheapskate in Mission Valley that has options to pick through for dressing to win. Other stores like Torrid, Forever 21, Target, JCPenney, Kohl’s H&M, Loft, and Macy’s. There is also a resource closet within DASA for items you can wear to interviews.

Let’s make a statement together

One thing winners think about when dressing for interviews is the meaning behind the choice colors they wear. What does your tie say about you? What does the color of your dress make others think of you? Here are some insight on the colors that winners wear to help you dress to win.

  • Red gets people’s attention. In a business setting red can communicate boldness and authority.
  • Blue communicates tranquility and relaxation. People feel comfortable around you when you wear a light blue. Blue is deal for a long brainstorming session because it is a calming color.
  • Black represents the traditional default color and formal gathering go-to.
  • The color green simulates trustworthiness and emotional stability. It also known to represent wealth and creativity.
  • Orange portrays warmth and vibration. This is a good color when you are feeling feisty and want to make a statement.
  • Purple is a good color for leadership. Purple is the combination of red and blue so it is a good choice but don’t go overboard with this color.
  • Pink decreases aggression. It is a “I come in peace” tone. Go for the rosey pink hue.
  • Gray is a sophisticated neutral color. Opt for a vibrant textured gray over the traditional way you may view it to avoid a gray overload.

As always you want to make sure that you are properly groomed. Get a fresh haircut, have neat hair and clean fingernails. Wearing a watch is always a good subtle accessory. Be on time and prepared. Have several copies of your resume and cover letters in your portfolio. It’s better dressing for success when you dress to win!

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