Confession: I’m lousy at the whole fashion thing and your physical image is a very personal matter, so I wouldn’t dare tell you what to do with your hair or clothes. Not specifically anyway. However, the best way not to be perceived as out of date at work is for your physical appearance to reflect a contemporary mindset. It’s not about having to look young, but you do have to convey that you “get” today’s business environment, and you can’t do that with a hairstyle inspired by Rachel Green.
Consider conducting an informal evaluation of your physical appearance and adjusting as needed. A trusted friend whose fashion sense you admire is a big help here for a reality check.
HAIR: Take out a picture of you 10 years ago. Is your hair style the same today? If so, you probably need to update it. Prepare to spend no less than $75 for a consultation and cut, and more than that if you are thinking about color. Find the best hair salon in your area and book an appointment for a consultation with a lead stylist to get on the right track.
EYEGLASSES: Like shoes, glasses are a fashion item, and depending on the season and year you’re shopping, you may not have much luck finding a design that fits your style. I may not like the rectangular frames (or whatever is fashionable today), but wearing something outdated is a worse option, so I try on everything I can to find something suitable for my personal style that’s in-fashion.
CLOTHES: Dedicate a Saturday morning to assess your wardrobe and accessories (belts, ties, shoes, purses, etc.). Remove everything from your closet and put it on your bed. Evaluate each item, one-by-one. Keep the old hole-covered college sweatshirt that you adore, but when evaluating work clothes, only put items back in the closet which meet all these criteria:
• You bought it less than 3 years ago.
• You wore it within the past year.
• It fits you, and you feel confident in it.
REALITY CHECK: If you want to take it to the extreme, snap some photos of you wearing five to ten workday outfits. Set up a survey using Survey Monkey to share with 50 random professionals in their 30’s to rank if the outfit conveys someone ready to retire or ready to get hired at a cutting-edge company. For less than a hundred bucks, you’ll get some very honest feedback to help you determine if you’re on track or if it’s time to get a professional stylist.
These relatively simple steps can go a long way to help you find your personal style, own your age, and be yourself. And you can’t buy the confidence being your best self will give you. As for the grays … to color or not to color is up to you. Just remember, being old school is a frame of mind, not an age nor a hair color.
You can find more from Tracy at her website lookingglasscomm.com