As we go through different stages of our life, we may want to be able to project this change through the clothes we wear and the styles we choose.
Going from Student to Work
When selecting clothes, one key point to remember is to find the right fit, clothes which are neither too tight nor too loose, but comfortable enough for movement. Most tend to keep it safe by sticking to white shirts or blouses with darker toned skirts / trousers and jackets. But pastel shades like pink, purple, beige, peach and cream are some colours that may be worn. Do avoid loud colours like royal purple, fuschia, golden yellow or emerald green. Choose a hair style that is practical and easy to maintain to look neat. Groom your nails and ensure your clothes look and smell clean. Your clothes need to be well-pressed and in good condition. Do not have unmatched buttons, missing buttons, hanging hems or torn parts. Shoes should be leather or patent leather in darker colours and polished. Check on your heels as these should also be in good condition.
For the Job Interview
The traditional look for men is a well-ironed white long-sleeved dress shirt with collar, a conservative patterned tie and dress trousers in a darker tone, matched with black or dark socks with subtle or no print and polished black leather or patent leather shoes. He may carry a dark leather messenger bag that is not too bulky. (Do avoid short-sleeved shirts, baggy or tight fitting tapered pants or a tight fitting shirt.) Ladies, a good quality tailored jacket in a neutral shade with a matching skirt about 10 cm above the knee would be a good choice. Wear a smart blouse or shirt in a different colour, but avoid low cut tops, see through materials or excessively frilly blouses. An alternative could be a shift dress, either in a solid colour, paneled or a simple print. Wear darker coloured court shoes with medium heels, keep accessories to a minimum and light make-up is a must.
Moving Upwards in your Career
Look for quality clothes that are wrinkle free, more crisp looking and fit well. Choose coloured or printed dress shirts and have quality silk ties to match. Do not wear fitted or straight cut trousers, but tailored ones (usually with a pleat or two). Have smart dresses that can be worn with quality accessories which are more classic in gold / silver. Keep away from floral dresses and sleeveless tops which are too cut in. Consider changing your hairstyle as it should not be the same since school days. Ladies, do make an effort to wear make-up. A classy, light scent will also help.
Converting from Daywear to Nightwear
Men can add a jacket that is the same colour as their trousers and change to or wear a brighter coloured tie. Add some accessories like a tie pin or cufflinks. Leave your briefcase in your car or at the office! Ladies could wear a jacket worn over the dress for work, and then just remove it. They can change the blouse of their suit into a camisole. Add a heavier shiner necklace or earrings, darken your make up (eye liner, blush and lipstick) and put up your hair or slick it back. Change the handbag into something smaller and more elegant and wear higher heels.
Looking for Quality
Choose well-made ties that have an inner lining to help keep its shape. When buying a tie, hold it straight out in front of you to see how it looks; it should fall straight. Check the back of tie for the “bar” which keeps the fabric from separating. Best choices in fabric are cotton, wool and silk, and the worst choices are acetate, rayon and polyester. When wearing a tie, ensure it is tucked beneath the collar and not exposed. Also check that you collar sits flat and is not wrinkled. The back length must always be shorter than the front. You may choose to wear a dimple in the tie as it widens the shoulders
When buying clothes, ensure the size fits well and that it is comfortable when standing or sitting. Check that the stitching is neat and reinforced, that the seams do not pull, hemlines hang evenly and there should be no loose threads. The thread colour must match the material and collars, zippers and closings lie flat.
When trying on the outfit, ensure pant legs do not curve under buttocks, that jackets are lined, the hip, the tummy or the butt area does not bulge; pockets, pleats and darts lie flat and the waistband is slightly loose.
Maintaining your Wardrobe
Only hang clothes that are ready to wear; that they are clean, pressed and in tip top condition. Do button up and zip up all fastenings before storing as it maintains the shape of the clothes. Use padded hangers for jackets and clip hangers for pants / trousers. Natural wool, linen, cotton or silk need to be aired frequently and man-made fibres must be washed with every wearing. Have a few pairs of good shoes to be rotated in use and do an air out regularly, wipe the inner soles and clean / polish shoes after wearing.
Accessories can help complete the look and to express your individuality. They should be proportionate to the size of the face and scale of the body. The shape of accessories can either help camouflage challenging areas or highlight them. And remember not to over deck yourself with too many pieces. Some classic designs are plated with gold, rhodium or platinum and will not tarnish or get scratched easily. To maintain them, never spray perfume or hairspray on them. Store them in the original box or padded jewellery boxes.
Some common spoilers include eyewear that slip down on your nose constantly, having a briefcase, wallet, purse, leather straps on watches that are dirty or worn out, wearing plastic, sport, large or theme watches, wearing large dangling earrings and chunky noisy bracelets for work and carrying both a handbag and a briefcase which can make you look overwhelmed.