By Lyndsie Baxter
In a world where business owners and CEO’s now dress in jeans and celebrate casual Fridays the term “dress for success” doesn’t mean what it used to.
It’s hard to know how to dress for your job. While most believe image makes a major impact, others say it’s how you feel on the inside that reflects who you are and your capabilities.
Forbes magazine tells their readers “understated elegance beats flash and trash five days a week.” Office rules of thumb are usually buttoned shirts, polished shoes, slacks and a complementary jacket. These rules can be applied anywhere, this trend especially is beginning to show itself in post secondary.
Francine Short, the employment and career advisor at Loyalist College tells students to dress as they’d want to be seen.
“The biggest thing I usually ask students when we talk about this is what image are you trying to present- dress as you want to be seen! If you want to be seen as a professional than dress as a professional,” says Short.
The Career Centre at Loyalist focuses on the importance of the first impression. According to an article on CNN.com 41% of employers more often promote people who dress better. The Centre says self-assurance is important and as a student, now is the time to start building a professional wardrobe.
As students begin to realize that as their time in class comes to an end, they must now prepare to sell themselves to the world. Natalia Pellati, a second year marketing student at Loyalist College says her program requires her to dress up anyway.
“With my program I have to dress up a lot. I usually wear dress pants with a blazer and a blouse,” says Pellati.
She tries her best to keep it professional but isn’t afraid to accessorize or change with the trends.
“Skinny jeans with a pair of high boots and blazers with a sheer blouse are my favourite things to wear right now. I like to accessorize too. I wear a lot of long necklaces and I also wear bangles,” Pellati says.
On the other hand, some students associate success with confidence and in some instances confidence comes from comfort. Taylor McCrae is a second year Police Foundations student. She describes her ideal outfit as a pair of lulu lemon track pants and a long sleeve shirt or sweater.
“My personality is pretty outgoing and athletic,” says McCrae, “I feel I can achieve more in this outfit because I feel like it flatters my body and makes me feel good about myself and I have more self confidence.”
Evan Campbell also says comfort is key. The photojournalism scholar says when he’s comfortable it makes him feel better about himself that he looks good.
“When you look good you play good,” says Campbell, “I think I’m a pretty funny, good person to be around.”
You can guarantee that alongside his skater tees and a pair of jeans, Campbell never leaves the house without a baseball hat.
Aside from deciding what to wear that best reflects you as a person the colours you choose also say something about you. A study done by Harvard University in 1998 showed that the brain reacts to all it sees and processes, including colours. Colours are personal. Particular colours stimulate thoughts and emotion, whether it be the memory of your first car or the dress you worn to your prom. We have and wear favourite colours because we like the way those colours make us feel. Because colours stimulate feelings, colours can be used on purpose to encourage a certain response.
A student who is no stranger to creating responses is Josh Edwards, a second year architect.
“I don’t like to dress for success because I am success. But definitely dressing a certain way brings that successful look out of me. I already know I got it so the way I dress just enhances that” says Edwards.
He says his style varies by day.
“My style can be a lot of different things. One day could be a nerd style or another day could be something like ‘throwback Thursdays,’ a little bit more relaxed, chill, but swag at the same time.
Although his favourite colour is green, red is the colour he likes to wear.
“I’m an outgoing person so my favourite colour to wear is red. Red is something that pops and I like to stand out,” says Edwards.
So whether you choose to rock a blazer and some pumps, or sweatpants and a ball cap, as long as you feel confident in what you’re wearing that is all that should matter.