This post was created in collaboration with Gwynnie Bee.
What’s the first thing that you do when you get a new job?
I generally start planning out my new wardrobe.
What’s the first thing that you do when you land your dream job?
I start to plan for long-term career success…and a new wardrobe.
Early on in my career, I had no idea what my style was and I didn’t have a clue about how I was supposed to build a wardrobe to look like a professional everyday. I generally wore “what I was supposed” to wear, which meant I was following standards that I learned from my parents who worked in education and publishing, or whatever was affordable on my limited budget.
Knowing what I know now, I have 3 key steps to dressing for your dream job.
#1 Determine the “industry standards” that are appropriate for your specific job and department
I work full time at an ivy league university AND run Manifest Yourself. When I got my current job at the university, I assumed that I needed to put on a suit everyday and essentially not show any of my personality. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While some offices are buttoned up, I quickly learned that my office wasn’t. In all honesty, I should have paid more attention during my interview process and I would have quickly learned what was office appropriate.
Even if you’ve been working in your industry for years, make sure to pay attention to how the people look when you’re interviewing at the company. Dress code isn’t always something that’s covered in employee handbooks, and even if it is, it may differ in your particular office or department.
#2 Invest in multi-faceted pieces
When building a wardrobe for the very first time, I always recommend focusing on pieces that can be worn several ways, like the wrap shown above. Early on, I would make the mistake of getting pieces that I loved, but weren’t necessarily functional. I can wear this wrap with jeans on a casual Friday with black or white tops, and I could also dress it up by wearing a dress underneath or pencil skirt.
Especially if your dream job involves some traveling, I’ve learned that the art of packing a carry-on suitcase is having multifaceted pieces that can be worn multiple times, in multiple ways. Don’t think you can pack a carry-on? You’ll learn very quickly if you have packed travel schedule and can’t be bothered waiting for your luggage when you land.
#3 Create a monthly clothing budget
When I first started working, I didn’t understand how some of the senior level professionals always looked so FLY. #howsway I assumed that they just magically knew how to put an incredible outfit together or they had more than enough money to purchase whatever they wanted. Boy was I wrong.
The secret too looking your best and building a wardrobe is creating a monthly clothing budget and find a store that you love where you can always walk in and see what’s new (or what’s on sale!). Or, you can sign up for a service like Gwynnie Bee. Gwynnie Bee is a rental subscription service that allows women sizes 0-32 to have an unlimited wardrobe. Wear the trend today and return it tomorrow. And if you want to purchase the piece, you can do so at a discounted rate.
This changed the way I shopped forever.
Building a professional wardrobe for your dream job isn’t a race the way I used to think it was. It’s more of a light jog to the finish line – in the same way you have to build your career over time.
This post was created in collaboration with Gwynnie Bee. All opinions and advice are my own.