x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dress for success, and other career grooming tips

Marissa Woods, the founder and style director of Image Factor in the UAE, offers her advice on how to cultivate the right image at work.

1. Your clothes should complement you. To be credible, you should look perfectly comfortable in what you are wearing. Consider the shape, style, colour, texture, pattern and fit. They should harmonise with your body shape, face shape, hair, skin and eye colouring and also reflect your personality.

2. Keep your emotions in check. Most job descriptions do not list "bring daily changing moods and emotions to work" as one of the key criteria for success. Your success depends on keeping and remaining consistently objective and balanced in your approach to your work.

3. Your clothes should fit well. Jackets should fit across the back of the neck, the back and chest. Skirts should fit without gathering or creasing around the seat area and gently follow the contours of your body shape. Shirt collars/necklines should not be too loose or too tight. Trousers should fit well in the waist, thigh and seat areas, and break gently on the top of the shoe. Ties should be well-knotted and tied to the correct length, just covering the trouser waistband.

4. Keep your energy sustained. It is often underestimated how much your energy levels in the workplace can affect your career. Monitor your diet and exercise regimes to keep energy levels up - it reinforces your overall business outlook to your colleagues.

5. Know what image you want to project. Take control of the messages your appearance sends out every day. Decide whether you want to be professional, credible, polished, creative or charismatic. Define what your image says and own it.

6. Your clothes should be appropriate for the organisation, the occasion, the people you work with and the time of year.

7. Look up to date. You will never appear well dressed if your look is obviously out of date. Men's fashion trends move more slowly than women's, so keep an eye on the current styles - width of lapels, jacket shapes, tie designs, shoes - and adapt to your own particular style of dress.

8. Your clothes should speak quality. A quality fabric and well-designed suit or jacket is an investment that will repay itself over and over, so buy the highest quality you can afford. Look for a good cut with better fabrics that have drape and ease of movement. Avoid over dry cleaning as much as possible because it destroys the fabric and reduces its wearability.

9. Be well accessorised. A professional look will be undermined if you don't pay enough attention to your accessories. Watches, pens, spectacles, briefcases, jewellery and belts should always be of the highest quality you can afford and in good condition. This is relevant to both men and women.

10. Be well groomed. Poor grooming will negate all the work you put into being well dressed.