Career Talk with Marie Wetmore

Marie WetmoreHow To Dress For Success In The Cold New England Weather

Brrr, it is cold today! And it’s not getting warmer anytime soon. But in the workplace, no matter how cold the weather is, appearances still matter.

I know it sounds superficial, but as a career coach it’s my job to speak the truth. And the truth is that the way you present yourself does have an impact on your career.

Let’s give a simple example: when a stranger walks into a workplace looking for the person in charge, she will automatically approach the best-dressed person. People simply assume the most successful looking person is, well, the most successful. Our clothing sends a signal, and you want your clothing to send the right one.

How does it impact you at a practical level? Well, the old rule of thumb still stands: dress as you would if you had the job one level above your own.

Sounds simple. But how does that play out in the winter? At a fundamental level, there really isn’t much of a difference. But for some reason, many people let themselves look schleppy during the winter when they never would do so in warm weather.

So the bottom line is, don’t get lazy – keep your look sharp in the winter. Different workplaces have different expectations in terms of attire, but the following tips should guide you well in most workplaces.

6 ways to dress for success in the winter:

1. Upgrade your snow boots. It’s common for people to wear sloppy outdoor shoes for their commute and then change into their “real” work shoes when they arrive at the office. But think about all the people you see when you walk in the outer doors, when you’re waiting by the elevator, etc. Shoe manufacturers now offer nice options for warm, comfortable, supportive outdoor shoes that still look snappy. Invest in a pair.

2. Keep a backup pair of dress shoes at work. Just about everyone has worn their outdoor shoes to work, intending to change into dress shoes – only to realize that they forgot their dress shoes at home. The solution is as easy as keeping a backup pair under your desk.

3. Keep shoe polish in your desk drawer. Winter means road salt. I’d be willing to bet that at least once this year you’re going to show up with salt stains on your shoes. Be prepared with some shoe polish, and your problem is solved.

4. Invest in lined dress pants. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you need to spend the day shivering. A pair of lined wool dress pants should keep you feeling toasty and looking sharp.

5. Upgrade your hat, scarf, and gloves. A stylish, high-quality hat and scarf will instantly upgrade your look. And higher quality gloves tend to keep your hands warmer anyway.

6. Keep a blazer in your office. A blazer is a great layering piece to pull on whenever you get cold. And don’t be afraid to get it tailored – it will make you look slimmer and costs a lot less than you might expect.

What do you think? What’s your favorite tip for wintertime workwear?

Marie Wetmore
Career, Management, and Performance Coach for Women

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 19th, 2013 at 5:14 pm and is filed under Business News, Citizen at Large, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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