Dress to Impress
To start the new decade in style at iWant2Network we spoke to Lisa O’Shaughnessy of Always Stylish. Lisa has worked as a personal stylist and fashion designer for the past 20 years. Styling male and female clients and designing for well-known clothing brands such as Tommy Hilfiger to M&S to Topshop. Here are some of her styling tips on how to dress for networking.
Whilst there isn’t a one size fits all answer to finding an outfit that makes you look and feel amazing, there are however a few practical steps you can follow.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Obvious first tip, but crucial. Look through your wardrobe a few days beforehand and try on a couple of options. If it turns out nothing feels right or you need your clothing cleaned, you have given yourself time. Preparation means a more confident you.
Many networking attendees have a tendency to wear head to toe black. Which puts you at an immediate disadvantage, as colour is an easy way of being memorable when meeting others for the first time. Plus, compliments on clothing are great icebreakers to start a conversation.
If I really can’t steer you away from black, try pairing back with a neutral or look for a black based subtle print such as a spot.
Conversely wearing a mix of bright colours or patterns can give the impression of not being very professional. Choose a flattering colour that suits your complexion and stick to one colour or tones of the same colour, if you are nervous about colour combinations.
If your branding has a colour theme you could look at adding in that colour into your look. Highlighting the connection between yourself and your brand.
Choose you fabrics carefully
Rarely talked about but key! To ensure you remain crease free, your suit, shirt or dress should contain a mix of natural and man-made fibres. Cottons, silks and wools all have a tendency to crease. Add in a percentage of polyester and you remain box fresh throughout the day
Dress on brand
Whilst it is important to dress in a way that reflects your personal brand, you should also maintain an element of comfort. If you’re uncomfortable it will show in your body language.
If you work in a corporate environment, choose a well-fitting suit or dress. Guys can dress up a navy suit with a tie, or the very much underrated pocket square. I would advise women to forgo pattern and focus more on colour and unobtrusive accessories.
Go for a more laid-back professional approach if you work in a sports or hospitality type industry. Guys concentrate on a stylish separates or a well-cut shirt if you feel the whole suit look isn’t for you. Ladies avoid wearing the latest dress (dresses only) from Zara, as the chances are quite high someone else will also be wearing it!
A creative profession requires dressing creatively, but make sure your overall look doesn’t detract from your pitch. Chandelier style earrings or an armful of jangly bracelets can be distracting, as can a slogan tee or sweatshirt. Adding in a piece of vintage clothing or less mainstream labels can make your look unique.
As well as networking these style tips also work for presentations or job interviews. If you would like to contact Lisa to discuss personal styling further you can call her 07966244651 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.