This is a guest post by Cheryl Lin, the founder of business streetstyle fashion blog, BusinessChic.com.au.
Dear web workers of the world,
You have a choice! Actually you have lots of choices!
From the freedom of choosing wherever in the world you would like to work from and whenever (!) to how you want to present yourself. Truth be told, you can wear pyjamas all the time if you so wish or the same black skivvy, jeans and sneakers day-in-day-out regardless of whether you’re working on your own or presenting to millions of potential customers!
However in this day and age of mobility and the global workforce, it’s more important than ever to differentiate yourself from every other web worker in the world because we don’t get a second chance at making first impressions. In-person communication is 70% visual which means that the clothes that you wear when you work and meet people in a professional or social (that might lead to more work) capacity are the first things that people will see and judge you by. Sure your work might be awesome but do you look as good as the things you create? Take a moment to check yourself in the mirror and consider whether you’re happy with the visual brand you’ve created for yourself or if you’re actually selling yourself short.
Regardless of whether you are happy, I’m going to share five steps to creating and finessing your visual identity to increase the prospects of your making a positive impression on your peers, clients and even yourself!
- Work out your style
Like whatever it is you are specialising in, it’s important to have an idea of what your work style is and how you want to look. When you get dressed, have a think about what you have on that day. Are you working, meeting with potential investors or folks you’d like to work with? Is what you’re wearing appropriate and does it present you in your best light?
I’ve come up with three general style sub-categories that are specific to web-workers; broader categories can be seen on BusinessChic.
i. The minimalist:
So I paid out Jobs earlier. The man knew that he was a minimalist and planned his wardrobe such. He didn’t wear the exact same turtleneck, jeans and sneakers everyday, Jobs found a brand who made what he liked and did it well. Then he filled his wardrobes with multiple versions of the same products so that he could present his minimalist self, crisply and cleanly, every day.
ii. The creative:
Maybe you are someone who spends their free-time scouring online and real-world markets for something a bit different to wear. You have your basic pieces like jeans and jackets – make sure that these are well-maintained (no frayed hems).
iii. The it’s clean crowd:
You wear whatever you find that’s clean. Even though you generally rock the messy bedhair look, you’ve showered and are wearing clean clothes – even if you’ve been up gaming all night! However if want to smarten up your look a little, make sure that your clothes fit well and aren’t too faded or bear holes that you aren’t proud of. A usual easy way to smarten up jeans and a tee is to incorporate a well-cut blazer into your look.
Generally make sure that your shoes are decent or don’t complain to the client when you’ve stomped in a puddle on your way to meeting them and water has come through the hole in your shoe.
- Personalise and shine
So you have worked out the look that you are going for. When going out to purchase the items to create your work wardrobe, consider making tweaks to suit you or show your personal flair.
You’re a minimalist like Jobs? Try getting some really ace sneakers. How cool would it have been if he’d rocked Marty McFly sneakers?
You’re Clean? Hurrah you’re clean! Now consider working on your hair. Is bed hair the best look for you or can you mix it up for when you have a special meeting? Try getting a sharp new do or put effort into your headgear if no-hair is your look. Experiment!
- Fail well, fail often
The you in better packaging may not happen overnight but it will happen. Try out a few looks, some will work better than others. Develop an eye for what looks good on you and the pieces that make you feel good and empowered to take on the next challenge!
Once you’ve established your style, it’s all about maintenance. Conduct periodic checks to see whether your clothes are smelly, splattered, stained or wearing out and act accordingly! Also be prepared for tumultuous weather and consider whether your clothes are appropriate for the season! Get an idea of the clothes and looks you like to create your work look. This means that whenever your clothes wear out, you’ll know what pieces you need to replace them.
Similarly don’t be afraid of keeping an eye out for new things. Check out magazines and streetstyle blogs to see what folks are wearing and whether there are new looks that you want to try for yourself.
And remember what you wear to work isn’t the most important thing; it’s the work you do and relationships you develop that matter. While you polish up your style and people notice the you-in-new-and-improved-packaging; remember to keep it real and not to lose sight of the key things that matter. Until then, I hope that you choose to take some pride in your visual presentation and feel free to share your progress with me on BusinessChic.com.au.
Bio: Cheryl Lin is the founder of business streetstyle fashion blog, BusinessChic.com.au. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Peppermint, Melbourne Street Fashion, (small)lust, Pugnacious George and Australian Cyclist. Cheryl is available for personal styling consultations, wardrobe audits and even offers a professional profile photo service so that web workers can present their best selves online. See here for her services.