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How You Can Be The "Authentic" You and Maintain A Professional Image Too!
Dana Lynch, Elements of Image

Neat, attractive, appropriate, and authentic—these are the basic tenets of professional dress. Today, I’d like to offer advice for those of you challenged by the traditional business suit which may not “suit” your style at all. How can you dress in a professional manner that is still “you” and allows you to be your “authentic self” too? Here’s how:

You work in a very professional office where all the women wear traditional business suits. Your supervisor has told you to dress more professional, but she didn’t offer you any suggestions. So you assume your boss wants you to wear traditional suits too. The problem is you hate suits; you don’t want to look like a clone; and you feel like you’re wearing a costume when you wear a traditional business suit. It’s just not you, which is evidenced by all the suits hanging in the back of your closet gathering dust. There’s an easy solution to your suit challenge. Maybe a suit in a less conservative color would work better for you—like plum, eggplant, teal, peacock blue, burgundy or forest green. If you work in a less conservative office, you can even try bright colors like red, turquoise, royal blue or even fuchsia. Although it’s important to size up the appropriateness of the colors you choose, you shouldn’t limit yourself because the choices are endless. So you have identified some colors you love, but you’re still not comfortable with the suit idea, great color or not. There’s no doubt a matching jacket and pants is most slimming and is the way to go when you need to appear the utmost authoritative, official, credible and persuasive, but here are other choices you can make to better “suitapostrophe your “authentic self.apostrophe ? Swap that suit jacket for something that better fits your style and personality yet maintains your professional appearance. The traditional blazer, the new popular military jacket, the cropped jacket with ¾ length sleeves, the very stylish long Victorian jacket or the new “slinkyapostrophe fabric jacket are just a few “suitableapostrophe replacements. And don’t forget the cardigan sweater. There are beautiful cardigans in great fabrics, patterns, styles and colors that are wonderful alternatives to any jacket. ? Swap those suit pants for another pant or skirt, whether it be matching or contrasting. Simply make sure the bottom you choose coordinates well with the color and style of the jacket you’ve chosen. To paint a visual, imagine a plush brown velvet jacket paired with solid brown wool or brown wool tweed pants. -Be cautious of fabrics that are inappropriate for the corporate workplace like denim and fabrics that are too slinky, thin or flimsy. So as you can see, looking professional doesn’t have to be as cookie cutter as you thought. Your opportunities to look fantastic and maintain some professional clout are endless. So feel free to dress your “authentic selfapostrophe making sure your “authentic lookapostrophe is neat, appropriate and attractive! Article by Dana Lynch of Elements of Image, 303-463-4839, www.elementsofimage.com. Reprinted with the permission of the Pat Landaker Agency, Aurora, Colorado, www.patlandakeragency.com.