Dress for the career you want. This old adage is a valuable piece of business advice on how to achieve your goals in the workplace. If you are an intern in a Fortune 500 mail room but want to be a CEO, start dressing like the CEO and fulling your prophecy. I have seen this have success in my current job when I was working in an entry level position and started dressing the part of an executive manager. I almost immediately heard positive feedback and ended up skipping the next level of management and jumping to a supervisor role, in part due to looking the part.
If there is one thing I am fully confidant speaking to you about, it is fashion; fashion is my passion. I get a high off putting together a unique outfit that is both appropriate and purposeful. I have self-endowed jurisdiction to speak on the following topic: outfitting for our dreams. While I open with the example of dressing in the workplace, outfitting yourself is vital to many avenues of life. Firstly, dress for the respect you want. Before sounding condescending or offensive remember I am 25 and use fashion to get what I want, and sometimes what I want is to be noticed, but it’s about the right kind of attention. If you’re out at da club and don’t want to get your ass grabbed than you probably shouldn’t be wearing those hot pants with glittery bronzer all over your behind. Likewise, if you are meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time you probably shouldn’t be wearing what you wore to da club from the night before or they may not think you are the classiest chick for their son (or daughter.) No one is going to just give you respect. You need to earn it, and dressing like a d-bag from Jersey Shore isn’t going to help your cause. (Refer to the Don’t be a dbag video on YouTube, but to be clear I love Jersey Shore and think they are actually some cool people who simply didn’t dress for respect, but did however dress for the jobs they wanted: reality television stars).
Next up, relationship. Dress for the relationship you want either with a significant other, with friends, with family, etc. Throw the notion of “so and so needs to love me for who I am” out the window. It’s bullshit. The person you want will never give you the attention you want if you’re unapproachable. If you want the attention of the laidback surfer guy, don’t wear a face full of makeup to the beach and 6-inch pool pumps (pool pumps: the inappropriate choice of footwear worn at the pool/beach by housewives across the west coast ). You will not come off laid back and cool even if you’re the perfect person to smoke a bowl with. Instead you will look like the chick who isn’t comfortable enough in her own skin to wear simple sunscreen and flip flops. In this case, less is more. Likewise, if you’re the new Soccer-mom to the team you probably shouldn’t show up to the first practice in a minidress, because while the dads will love you, the moms will start gossiping about the
husband you stole before you have enough time to get to your minivan and change.
Even moving to a new city requires dressing the part until you get acquainted with the locals. I studied abroad in small Italian towns where the locals were not always accepting of the American drunk lush. And we weren’t helping our causes by walking around in soffe shorts with a bottle of prosecco in one hand and a new college hookup in another. Rather I took a different approach to changing the prejudice, I dressed the part of the Italians. Frankly there was nothing I could do about the booze and boyfriend, they were behavior flaws, but changing my look was a task I could handle. Luckily for me I had a pretty solid understanding of how the average Italian dressed so the transition to expatriate was easy. I traded in my running shorts for a pair of dark denim and my flip flops for some shiny high top sneakers. I left the PINK college tee and home and replaced it with a cute black Dolce and Gabbana number and BAM, instant Italian family. However this advice isn’t confined to Europe, apply it to any new city you enter. If you want to be considered a local than dress like the locals, even if it means adorning some obnoxious Lilly Pulitzer dress and drinking sweet tea, someone will ask you where you bought your dress and BAM, new friend and your “in” to start dressing like yourself again. It’s all about altering the perception of yourself until you get what you want, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to change your shoes than change your personality. As soon as you start achieving success in whatever you aspire to, then take some liberties to push boundaries.
Final example before I let you go, dressing for the vacation you want. While this may seem like a strange piece of advice, hear me out, because if I can’t wear it on vacation, I don’t buy it. As you all know I love a good trip and try to keep an open mind about where to travel. While I haven’t gotten to St. Petersburg or Moscow yet, you can bet I have the vintage fur to rock when I arrive, or the linen pants and floppy hat for when I finally make it to Figi.
Dress for the world you want to see.
We all have the grandiose dreams of visiting tropical paradise or exploring the Outback, but do we ever fulfill these ideals? Unfortunately in many cases, no. We always have some excuse not to uncover the world we have only dreamed of. But a wise woman once said to me, “there will always be more money, better timing, a better job,” until there isn’t. What mom meant was, there will always seem to be a better time in the future to chase your dreams, but this life has a tendency to only get more complicated, so don’t wait. Go out and buy the boots to climb the mountain, or the raincoat for when you finally make it to London, even the new bikini for when you go to the beach next month, and then make it happen. Dress for the relaxation you need, the exploration you imagine, or even the simple romantic weekend getaway. Once you put the plan in motion, even if it’s buying some stupid new blouse, you are one step closer to living the life you dreamt of.
( I have an entire wardrobe for destinations around the world because I know one day I will be Dressing for my success as a travel writer, explorer, conservationist, or expert in leisure.)