A wardrobe makeover to get you promoted

People don't rise to the top on skill and hard work alone. Image is just as important.

So you’ve started your journey of a thousand steps to your dream career. You’ve landed your dream job and you’re doing just fine. And your colleagues know you’re one of the lucky few up for promotion.

You have talent, a wide network and experience working in your favor. But why did the other person, who is not as talented and as well-connected as you, get that promotion instead?

Delby Bragais, the first and only Filipino with the advanced “Certified Image Professional (CIP)” level of certification, says it could be because of the way you present yourself to others.

“Some people think you get promoted only because of your skills. That’s not the case. The power of image comes into play. And people will evaluate you based on these perceptions of intelligence, confidence, authority level and trustworthiness.”

Bragais, also the Philippine chapter president of the Association of Image Consultants International, gives six areas young professionals who want to climb the corporate ladder should work on.

1. Start with a core wardrobe.

“Investment dressing should start with a basic set of outfits. Buy a good quality blazer or jacket as a power piece. Go for the classic cut. It will never go out of style,” says Bargais. “Buy the most expensive you can afford. Do not scrimp. Remember, you are investing on your future. This is not an expense.”

2. Choose darker colors to project authority.

“Go for neutrals like navy blue, black and grey, chocolate brown . Darker colors project authority. A dark brown jacket with champagne-colored inner blouse give the image of authority. Beige is more approachable and more friendly. When you have a set wardrobe, pag ready ka na, that’s the time you can get lighter colors like beige.”

3. Don’t buy a jacket without a lining.

“Invest in good quality fabrics na mas tumatagal. Go for the wrinkle-free ones. You don’t want to look harassed at the end of the day (na parang) tumakbo ka sa Boston Marathon. At end of day, you still look very crisp, very clean. Lightweight fabrics like crepe silk for women are good. The ones from Japan are recommended. Get the most expensive crepe silk you can afford. They last longer and hold the shape or form better. A fully-lined jacket is a must. Don’t buy a jacket without a lining. It doesn’t make you look good.”

4. Master the art of wearing print.

“Be very careful about the type of prints you use. Do not wear in-your-face o yung magulo na prints. Acceptable prints are paisley in medium and small sizes. We’re talking about scale in relation to the wearer’s body type. If you’re petite, say 5 feet tall, tapos ang laki laki ng prints mo dyan, ang liit liit mo tingnan by virtue of contrast. And if you’re a large lady, don’t wear small prints.

“I remember running a program for a bank. There was this top executive who was wearing a beautiful shift dress. Ang ganda ng tela. At fabulous ang accessorizing! Ang problem, may bulaklak na hindi dapat nandon sa part na yon. Pagtayo niya, everybody was looking at exactly in front of the flower located where it was not supposed to be.”

5. Update with accessories.

“It’s the most economical way of updating your look and tying it all together. It’s like you’re telling a story.”

6. Don’t tote a freebie.

“Steer clear from those giveaways with company names. It doesn’t go well with that professional look.”

Remember, the devil is in the details. Look at the women on top and how they dress and move. The more you impress, the more points you get.

See you at the top!

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