Getting your suit style right at every stage of your career can have quite an impact on your progression through the ranks.
I’ve written a few suit style posts on the topic of leveraging sartorial flair to elevate your career prospects, so you already know I’m a fan of dressing appropriately for the office and the importance of dressing ‘up’ rather than ‘down’ should you feel uncertain about what to wear.
A recent suit style blog covered the value of dressing for success, but I thought I’d drill a little deeper this time and offer some tips for dapper dressing at various stages of your career.
SUIT STYLE FOR YOUR FIRST JOB
So you’ve landed your first job and you are raring to go.
You may think that at this stage of your career, your dress sense is inconsequential, but that would be a huge mistake.
Make the right impact from the start – establish your personal style now and it will stay with you for life.
Obviously you want to look good, but you can’t afford to spend a fortune. Practically, you will need two or three suits that are sturdy and easy to wear – stylish without being flashy.
That’s a not-insignificant investment, but it is an investment worth making.
For an enduring suit style, go for quality brands with a great cut, expert construction and fine wool fabrics that will last you a few years.
Be sure to rotate your suits and pick up 2 pairs of pants for each suit, rotating them too, to further prolong their wear.
Please, please, please avoid inferior, and frankly tacky, polyester fabrics, that will have you sweating every day and will quickly become shiny and worn.
You might save a bit on the initial investment, but you’ll be replacing them in no time.
You want to make a strong impression in your first role, but I would avoid being too fashion-forward with your suit style at this stage (unless, of course, you happen to be employed in a fashion business).
You certainly want to appear well groomed and modern, but it’s important that you demonstrate respect for your employers and your job and a more classic image with your professional attire will indicate your willingness to work hard – that you are taking your career seriously.
And make sure you are consistent – wearing a worn or grubby shirt on a Friday, because you didn’t get around to the washing won’t – well, wash!
Always hang up your suit – every night, always wear a clean, pristine shirt and make sure your tie always looks clean and wrinkle-free – every day.
So back to cost. At H+CO we like to do what we can to help you achieve that high-quality look without the painful price tag.
Check out our current Gibson suit bundle, which gives you a choice of three classic colours in Gibson’s signature contemporary cut wool suit, with white slim-fit Gibson shirt and a Gibson Italian silk navy or black tie for just $599 – a saving of $200 over purchasing the items separately.
A perfect premium quality start to any working wardrobe that won’t break the bank.
You’re more than welcome
SUIT STYLE FOR YOUR FIRST PROMOTION
Congratulations, by the way!
The hard work has paid off, your efforts have been recognised and your career is starting to take off.
Landing a new job is the perfect time to celebrate with a new business wardrobe.
You’ve got some experience under your belt and you feel more confident – now is the time to put a little more effort into your business dress to ensure you continue to get noticed.
Looking well-groomed and well-tailored really gives you a feeling of empowerment when meeting new colleagues, clients and professional contacts.
You started with a wardrobe of stylish essentials, which you can build on to ensure your every-day dressing feels effortless and negates the need for pre-planning.
It’s a good idea to have three classic suits, in charcoal, blue and a muted weave, like a pinstripe or a subtle check.
You can never have enough white shirts – I would always keep five good quality whites in your wardrobe that are all still white and in good condition. Launder them carefully and they will last you well – but once they do start to lose their colour or form, don’t be tempted to hang on to them. Nothing beats a crisp white shirt for style and sophistication, but once it starts to fade, it can unravel your look entirely.
Add a couple of blues for tonal dressing and select a couple that are a little more adventurous for those meetings where you need to exude authority and command.
Combine with a selection of subtle ties along with some more bold designs that really reflect your personality.
You can even add in a pocket square or two for a more flamboyant touch – you’ve likely gained enough experience of different business situations now to guage when you need to keep your look conservative and when you can present yourself in a more exuberant light.
This is the time to start crafting your signature style, so you can afford to experiment a little – and be sure to monitor the comments you receive as well as the more subtle reactions your dapper new self stimulates.
YOU’RE THE MAN
OK, you’re the Man-ager!
Bloody well done – you are now the office boss, the head honcho, the top dog – and you need to look like the boss!
Time to really ramp up the sartorial style and set the example for your team.
Sloppyness or any ill-fitting, worn out clothing is not an option, so take a long hard look at your wardrobe and dispose of anything that looks remotely inferior.
Not only will your contemporaries and superiors judge your management prowess by the way you present yourself, but you now have a responsibility to steer your team towards the desired level of professional business attire.
Everyone will be looking to you for guidance – how you choose to dress will reflect on the image of the entire office.
By setting the sartorial bar you will, by osmosis develop a more professional looking and acting team. A team that will get noticed and reflect positively on the impression of your skills as a leader and consummate professional.
The more you mature and mix with peers at your managerial level, you’ll find people become a lot more discerning and as well as taking in the overall impression of you, they begin to consider the finer details.
The quality and fit of your suit style is the key to making an impact when meeting clients or demonstrating leadership.
You’ll likely need to invest in five to eight, fine quality suits.
Go for a mix of colours, ensuring you have the classics covered, and adding in a few subtle patterns that are versatile, with different shirts and ties. You can afford to really bring your personality to the fore now, so if your penchant is for sharply cut tailoring, bold accessories, contrast linings and accessories, or even the odd statement suit, you are in a good place to explore and assert your personal style.
This is a great time to introduce some fully customised tailor-made options to your collection for those days when you really need to shine. You can choose from hundreds of fine quality fabrics, personalised with tonal, contrast or patterned linings, piping, stitching details, buttons and a personal monogram on your inside pocket. There is truly no finer luxury that wearing a suit that is made for you and only you.
If you feel this is a luxury too far for this stage of your career, think again – our tailor-made suits start from as little as $990, so this is one luxury you can afford.
To complete your look, experiment with shirt, tie and pocket square combinations to make sure you cover a variety of potential situations and your role in them.
And consider employing the services of a colour consultant to gain an understanding of what really brings out the best in you.
CEO SUIT STYLE
Well, you made it! From now on you’ll be highly visible – and not just to the employees of your company. Others will be watching.
Of course there will be interest in how you perform, but your personal style and ‘charisma’ will take you a lot further than your leadership skills alone.
Like it or not, you are creating a persona, a personal brand, an image that your management team, employees, shareholders and external peers will want to buy into – or not!
You are the CEO of the company – it’s time to get really serious about style.
If you really want to make a statement, why not go fully tailor-made at this point. You will never see someone else in the same suit and you will always look and feel amazing.
You might decide on a signature lining that features in all of your suits. Maybe three-piece tailoring can be your ‘thing’ for an added level of sophistication– or if you’re in the ‘early adopter’ fashion category, break out from the pack and choose all double-breasted styles, or a dandy choice of shirt, tie and pocket square combinations, could be your defining detail. What ever it is, creating that memorable something about your business style is what people will talk about and identify you by. They may not remember your name, but refer to you as ‘that guy that always wears …’ or ‘that snappy dressing CEO from…’ – you get the picture.
You want suits that say “don’t trifle with me, sir (or madam)” – suits that make it clear you do not compromise when it comes to the quality of your wardrobe and by implication, your professionalism and reputation.
If this all sounds exhausting, worry not.
You probably have little time to shop around for your business wardrobe and many more pressing priorities, but please don’t let that be an excuse to let your image slip and miss the opportunity your new-found status presents.
Let the experts guide you through the process and we’ll help you nail your style and order your wardrobe for the year ahead in just a couple of meetings.
You can book a private consultation at our showroom, where we will prepare a selection of ready to wear items in your size for you to try. Or we will take all of your measurements and work with you to craft your fully customised tailor-made collection of suits.
At the risk or repeating myself, I’ll reiterate from the section above, (which you may not have read, since you’re the CEO) that you can choose from hundreds of fine quality fabrics and a variety of tailoring styles, cuts, lapel shapes, etc., personalised with tonal, contrast or patterned linings, piping, stitching details, buttons and a personal monogram on your inside pocket. It’s certainly worth repeating that there is truly no finer luxury that wearing a suit that is made for you and only you.
In respect of your professional status, you’ll be comforted to know that ours is very much a premium service, using only the finest quality fabrics and all of our suits are crafted in New Zealand by our expert tailors.
For your convenience we offer out-of-hours appointments and if it’s still too difficult to get away, then we will come to you and conduct the consultation and fitting appointments at your office.
The tailor-made process takes around 6 weeks from initial consultation to final fitting.
SUIT STYLE SUMMARY
In conclusion, wherever you find yourself on the career ladder, I guarantee you will never hinder your chances of advancement by dressing with the utmost care, elegance and sophistication. Always take a good look at your peers and superiors in the office and and aim to establish your suit style around the best dressed 10%. Of course if they all happen to be terrible dressers, you’ll need to fill the void and lead the charge.
Just putting on a well-tailored suit can make you feel like a million dollars and when you raise your sartorial game, your professional attitude can’t help but follow.