May 17 Don’t Let Your Image Wilt with Warmer Weather
Let’s admit it. Keeping your professional image crisp and
polished can be a little more challenging during those wonderful warmer months.
The tendency is to succumb to spring fever and dress in more casual and laid
back manner, now that sunnier weather has finally arrived. But getting too lazy
or loose with your wardrobe can detract from your image, dilute your
professional presence, and spoil your chances of being promoted. So don’t
succumb to the temptation to sabotage your image this summer.
Every year about this time – as we transition from winter to
spring – I start fielding numerous phone calls from HR executives who work at large
organizations. They all explain to me how it is that as soon as the temperature
warmed up the company dress code got too casual and employees began showing too
much skin in the workplace.
This business of how to dress in warm weather gets extremely
hard for large organizations that either have no suggested dress code policy or
are too vague in communicating their expectations. When this happens employees
don’t have any recommended guidelines to follow and nobody in the office knows
how to enforce a standard dress code. Then professionals try to interpret the
company’s dress code in their own ways, and that can damage the consistency of
the brand and the image of the organization in terms of what it conveys to
clients and prospects.
While companies can set the dress code expectations for
their people, many do not. So every day I hear real life complaints from senior
level management groups within organizations about how the poor image of their
workforce is detrimental to their brand.
But just because your organization does not have a proper
system for communicating and enforcing a dress code that does not mean that you
need to let it adversely influence your own personal image and professional
presence. If you want to be noticed in a positive way by upper management, then
pay attention to these image spoilers:
wearing see-through tops or low-cut revealing blouses.
skirts and bare legs resembling a night club look.
wearing short sleeve dress shirts.
wearing sleeveless tops/dresses that show a bit of armpit.
that become more visible as clothing layers or fabrics get lighter.
style shirts for men that appear worn and have lost their luster.
7) Wrinkled khakis
made of 100% cotton fabric.
8) Long hair
pulled up in a messy bun style.
9) Sandals worn
without routine pedicures.
style shorts in business casual environments.
You need to
be cautious about how you present yourself at work – despite the warm weather. Companies
that fail to address this kind of issue ahead of time in their dress codes or
through delicate conversations with employees always notice the impact, and it
creates problems that are real and substantial.
talking about everything from sexual harassment claims to the loss of major
clients who are easily offended – especially if they are from a cultural
background or tradition that is more conservative that what we might be
accustomed to in the USA. Get too casual, in other words, and your company’s
return on investment and bottom line may be the first noticeable casualty.
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Sarah Hathorn is a professional image
consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author.
Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works
with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their
corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the
Blog, Ezine & Website:
Copyright 2010, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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