Want a Promotion? These Wardrobe Tips Will Get You Taken More Seriously at Work

The premise of ABC’s new series Selfie really hits home.

It all starts when pharmaceutical sales rep Eliza Dooley has a wake-up call after a particularly mortifying moment involving an airplane barf bag exploding onto a way-too-tiny-for-work dress (and in front of a plane full of passengers armed with smartphones and Instagram accounts too). Long story short, she then enlists the help of a buttoned-up coworker, Henry Higgs—yes, Selfie is the social-media-obsessed, 21st-century update on the classic Pygmalion—to “rebrand” her at work…and life.

A huge part of that? Building the perfect work wardrobe that can help you succeed at the job you have, get you to the job you want, and, yes—avoiding all the wrong looks that will do the opposite.

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Henry (John Cho) gives Eliza (Karen Gillan) some proper tea-drinking etiquette tips a là Kate Middleton.

As you are avid Glamour readers, eh hem, you are naturally not in need of a work wardrobe overhaul. But considering that costume designer Danielle Launzel expertly created Eliza’s before-and-after looks, we think she’s just the person to ask about how to advance your office wardrobe game.

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GLAMOUR: What are your tips for someone who wants to make over her office wardrobe to be taken more seriously?
Danielle Launzel: The first step to a self-makeover would be to go through your closet piece by piece. If your style is overtly sexy, try the extreme opposite as a test. It will give you ideas on how to find a middle ground. Any time you find yourself questioning if the skirt is too short or if you are showing too much skin, you probably are. Unless you are in a creative field, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.

What about accessories at the office?
DL: I am a HUGE fan of accessories, but even I can’t wear a lot of rings or bracelets all day. No matter what you are doing, you are likely using your hands, and sometimes those pieces can get in the way. It’s best to find a couple of pieces you like and rotate them. Necklaces shouldn’t be a problem, but I would steer clear of ones that draw attention to your cleavage.

There’s the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” How would you suggest someone do that?
DL: Take your cues from the people around you. In an office there is always a culture or protocol in place, and it generally starts from the top. You don’t have to copy what your boss is wearing and totally lose your identity, but try to notice what they find acceptable. You also need to feel comfortable with how you look, which is probably one of the most important things.Your self-esteem and confidence show through when you feel good about your style.

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