When marketing yourself you should always look your best. Some people have the luxury of looking relaxed at work and that’s ok. I personally learned the hard way not to go that route. I noticed that even though I am a fairly intelligent individual that performs well at work, I remained in the same position for many years.
It seems that the people who got the most respect and praise were those who were smooth talking and well dressed. Not only did some of my co-workers looked the part and they knew the culture that they worked in.
It was not until one of my older mentors, Cato, pulled me aside and told me I needed to change the way I presented myself. I had many after work conversations with Cato and most of them were about small things I needed to do that could help me out. Once I humbled myself and started to listen, I noticed a change in the way coworkers received me. I still thought all of this was fake as a three dollar bill, but it worked. That’s just the way our society works.
People started to say things like “did you lose weight” or “did you get a haircut?” Some people initiated conversations who I never met before. I even started to get looks from women who would have never paid attention to me before.
Although there was no formal dress code where I worked, it seemed to be an unwritten rule that we should look as professional as possible at all times. But to some it did not matter. I continued to try to impress my boss by dressing like the other guys in the office but I couldn’t seem to get her attention. It was not until the day I gave up and dressed down that she actually noticed me. She let me verbally have it in front of all the other employees in the I.T. department, making an example of me. I knew then that I could never dress down at work again. This situation showed me that it was better to be safe than sorry. Dress even when there is no dress code. Even though you may feel it does not matter, it does!
In the book called ” Everyday Ways to Enjoy Success at Work”, author Robb Thompson talks about how we all should dress up regardless of what’s going on around us. He stated that those who dress up make 22% more than their other coworkers who choose not to dress appropriately. This means that if you make $30,000 a year your coworker who chooses to dress up every day will likely be noticed and promoted more quickly, earning him or her an extra $6,600 per year. Who couldn’t use an extra $6,600 per year?
There are a couple of things you can do to easily ready your wardrobe. If you don’t have the money, I suggest spending a day driving around to different Good Will and thrift stores. You could actually find all types of deals this way. Here are a couple of basic items that almost all employees will need to dress appropriately at work.
|Button Up Shirts/ Blouses||Quantity||Dress Pants or Skirts||Quantity|
|Blue and white Strips||1||Dark Brown||1|
|Blue Shirt with white color||1||Khaki||1|
If you can’t find shirts that fit, you can always take some simple steps to tailor them yourself. Most people have no idea that they can easily tailor their own garments.
One of the worst things a person can do is lose a lot of weight and have their clothing falling off of them at work. I did this for a while and people started to notice how sloppy I began to look. I even had an older woman pull me aside and say “Why is your clothing falling off of you like this?”
I explained that I had lost a lot of weight and had not had the chance to purchase new clothes. She suggested that I just tailor them myself. At first I looked at her like she was crazy. I remembered how in 8th grade we were forced to make teddy bears in art class. I remembered how difficult I thought it was going to be to create those bears until I actually sat down and started the project. I actually had the best teddy bear in class. I then told her the only thing I ever sewed was a teddy bear and she said that’s far more difficult than tailoring my own pants or shirts!
That’s when I started to research how to tailor clothing. After reading about ten websites and watched a couple of YouTube videos I had enough confidence to go out and buy a sewing machine.
I purchased the Brother LX3125E sewing machine for $69.00. This machine did everything I needed it to do, which is sew in a straight line. I chose this machine because of the low price, and it came with a DVD that helped me get started. If it hadn’t been for the DVD setting up this machine would have taken me forever. The videos on the DVD covered basics like how to sew buttons and stitch in a straight line. The DVD also talked about how to use the different stitch patterns. After watching all the videos I made my friend and her daughter matching Sunday dresses with no issues.
The next step is to create a body form of your own body. All you need is a friend and 2-3 rolls of duct tape, a large T-shirt that covers your butt, stuffing, and two hangers taped together.
Once you find a friend to help you, and the T-shirt, you’re going to begin wrapping the duct tape around your torso and work your way all the way up to your chest. Once you get to your chest, you want to cut individual strips. Now place the duct tape vertically over each shoulder until you have covered the entire chest area as if they are suspenders. By vertically aligning the strips you create an accurate representation of your chest.
Once you have your torso/ chest all taped up, make sure you cover the entire shirt again. If you can’t cover the biceps for some odd reason, make sure you can at least cover your shoulder area. This allows you to see how tight the shirt will be around your arms.
Once you’re out of your body form. Now it’s time to tape it up. One long piece of duct tape should handle this. Also, make sure all edges have extra tape around them. Now find two plastic hangers and tape them together. This should supply you with the added strength you need to hold any heavy garment. Tape the hangers to the inside of the form around back area. This will allow you to hang up the form and not deform the structure of the form. Now you can stuff the form with anything you like (pillows, polyester, old clothing or newspapers).
Now it’s time to tailor your first shirt. This first technique is called “Pinch and Pin”. This is because once you have your shirt on the body form you pinch off all the excess material by pinching the cloth and pinning it in place where you want it. Now turn your shirt inside out and put it on. Once the shirt is on the body form, measurewith your eye how you want the shirt to look on your torso. I like my shirt to have about an inch or two inches of slack on my sides, but do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Now that you have your shirts pinned in place, it’s time to draw a line just outside of you where you pinned your it. Be sure to use a tailors pencil or marker that’s machine washable.
(Photo of pinned shirt with a line to indicator where to sew)
Once you have everything pinned the way you like it, go ahead and sew it up. If the shirt seems too tight or baggy use a seam ripper and start all over again. Upon completion of the sewing you are going to want to cut away all excess material and set your sewing machine to zigzag mode to finish the edges.
Here is a photo of me with my shirt on after the alterations. It’s currently a little snug because I’m still in the process of losing another 10 pounds. Keep things like that in mind if you’re in the middle of a diet or planning on tailoring your favorite shirt any time soon. You don’t want to have to hack up your shirts twice. When it comes down to tailoring your own pants, I’d rather employ a professional for all major alterations. Altering your pants involves cutting pockets and other difficult processes, so I suggest you stick to shirts in the beginning.