Not too long ago I had a performance review at my job where I was called out for needing to ‘look more professional’. This came as a surprise to me as I always wore slacks and a collared shirt to work. After speaking with my boss about this in more detail he informed me that perception is a huge obstacle I needed to overcome when working in business; especially with executive leadership. This included how I styled my hair and the clothes I wore, to how I carried myself. As an information technology (IT) professional I can honestly say that perception was the last concern on my mind. However, after really thinking about this, I realized that my main issue was I had an identity and confidence issue. I needed to be myself (not trying to be like everyone else) and by doing that I’d be more confident.
To overcome this hurdle, I looked to social media and Etsy to find style inspirations to begin the transformation. The first step was to acquire some bespoke suits and blazers since I had none. From there, I immediately started trying out different accessories and colors to find out what looked best on me. To this day, I am still a work in progress, but I’ve clearly identified two things that are a part of who I am today at the workplace. First and foremost, I will always wear a lapel pin if I’m wearing a blazer or jacket. Secondly, more times than not I’ll be wearing silk knit tie.
I’ve discovered that these two items help me stand out in a large crowd (like a conference or large meeting) and helped me be unique. This has allowed me to increase my confidence and ultimately be myself. I am no where near a fashion expert, so my suggestion is to try out different fabrics, accessories and colors to figure out what you identify with.
Once you have acknowledged what you like best, stick with it as it will create your identity. Don’t be surprised that a specific accessory or style will naturally create a conversation. It’s possible that that conversation will lead you to a new job, a new friend or even become a new business partner. Visit my Instagram page for more style inspiration @RUNNINEVERLONG.
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