What to Wear to Work: Top Tips for Dressing for Your Career


Standing in front of your closet and figuring what to wear to your next big meeting or work event can be totally paralyzing. Need help? Enter style icon and former TLC What Not to Wear host Stacy London. Her fashion philosophy is thoughtful, nuanced and feminist. Check out her top tips for creating a work look will help you accept and understand your body, dress for the career you want, and create a professional style that’s totally yours.

Take the Emotion Out of Getting Dressed

For many women, buying clothes is fraught with emotion. Stacy London gets it – she’s been there.It’s hard for us to look in the mirror, she says,and not see what we wish was there. Or we have body dysmorphia and we can’t see what’s actually there. But lessening your emotional response and training yourself to be objective is essential to truly understanding what will look best on your body.

Understand Your Body Shape

The key to all style, Stacy says, is self-awareness and self-acceptance. That meansnot dressing the body you wish you had, or the body you used to have. You have to be clear and mindful in the present tense.

How do we do that? Stacy suggests sitting in front of the mirror, totally naked, for as long as it takesto learn to accept and understand the body that you have in terms of geometry. Identify the parts of your body you like and don’t like, and why. Then you’ll be able to understand how to play up the parts of your body that you like, while consciously camouflaging the ones that you don’t.

Find Your Look

When you create a look, you’re sending people a message about who you are. Do you want to appear powerful? Intimidating? Serious? Feminine?Be in control of that image and own your persona, Stacy says, becausethere’s a strong connection between finding your style and getting what you want. Once you find clothes that make you feel great, the next step is to make sure they fit perfectly. Stacy’s secret weapon: tailoring.The more something fits you well, she says,the better you’re going to look in it. So take your favorite inexpensive pieces for a nip and tuck at the tailor. It’s a worthy investment. And don’t feel like you have to drop a lot of dough on clothes themselves.Money, Stacy says,has nothing to do with style.

Dress for the Job You Want

Creating a powerful work look, Stacy says, is about respect for both yourself and your environment. You want to project confidence and self-awareness, and you want your clients and superiors to know that you take them, and your work, seriously. How do you convey respect through clothes?No rips, no tears, no stains, no missing buttons, Stacy says.You have to put in enough effort to say, ‘ there’s a reason I’m here, there’s a reason that I belong here, there’s a reason that I want to evolve here.’

Morra Aarons-Mele is the founder of strategic communications firm Women Online and influencer database The Mission List.

An anchor with CNBC TV18 for almost 4 years. Also co-anchors prime-time market shows like Power Breakfast, Traders only, Markets Mid-day and NSE Closing Bell.