Elevate Your Everyday Attire

Match your look and style to your company’s corporate culture/iStock photo courtesy of STYLEdge®

By Patty Soltis, Guest Columnist

Think that image is superficial? These facts state otherwise:   People who work out make 9 percent more (Cleveland State University), women who wear makeup to work make 30 percent more (American Economic Review) and attractive people earn 5 percent more (Yale University).

Understanding my Five Modes of Attire, will help you increase your paycheck.

As you prepare for the day, there are many things to do, including figuring out what to wear.  How do you open your closet?  Is it with a feeling of joy or with dread as you feel as though you have nothing to wear?  This sets the tone for your day.

If you are like most of America, you work at least every week day.  You arrive at the office and are expected to appear put together for the opportunities and obstacles of the day.  It’s a daunting task with all of the time constraints and demands in your life both professionally and personally.

Thoughts go through your mind:

  • What did I wear yesterday or the day before?
  • What’s the weather like today and how should if affect what I wear? When is it going to rain today?
  • What meetings do I have?
  • Who will I interact with today?

This stream of questions could go on and on, and it seems like you need an extensive wardrobe to accommodate what needs to be accomplished.  Also, you must remember that a first impression is made in the blink of an eye with a judgement being made on your level of trust and competence.

The first mode of attire, Everyday Professional, will help you know what to do and open your closet with joy in the morning and leaving your home with triumph knowing that you are going to conquer the day.

Let’s look at the basics. What is the environment like where you work? Is it creative? Is it conservative? Is it Business Casual? Is it somewhere in between? Match your look and style to your company’s corporate culture. Fitting in is a big part of the game – you want to be relatable while standing out as a leader.

Remember to start with a basic color to your wardrobe, then build from that.  Start with black, dark grey, navy or deep brown, then add in the color, prints, metallics, embellishments, embroidery and all of the finery to add dimension to your wardrobe.

Roll up your cuffs for a splash of color/istock photo courtesy of  STYLEdge®

Seven important points:

  1. Fit counts.  Make sure that your garments fit, not pulling or sagging on the body.  Pants need to be hemmed to the appropriate length.  For women, skirts and dresses should be no more than 1 inch above the knee.
  2. Identify the parts of your body that you like and dress to emphasize those. When you do this, the parts you don’t like fade away and others will notice your eyes, smile, long legs or great arms.
  3. Make sure that your garments are in good condition. Check for frayed hems, stains, pilling, garments losing their shape and other components that show the garment is beyond its time.
  4. Shoes must be maintained. Make sure that you have a good cobbler to maintain yours.  Soles and heels need to be replaced, shoes need to be shined.  There are several locations in Tampa Bay to do this.
  5. To get out of a rut or a uniform, do it slowly. Add a bit of print or a pop of color with lining, piping or trim, or for men, a pocket square.  Soft metallics can be much easier to wear than vibrant, shiny metallics.
  6. Build your wardrobe within your budget. Know what pieces you need to invest in and where you can save.  Shop in a variety of stores and online to get the best value for your money.
  7. Undergarments matter for both men and women. Make sure that yours fit with no gaping, bunching, pulling, twisting, and that they complement your exterior.

For women, build a wardrobe with a variety of dresses, skirts and pants.  Layer in jackets and blouses.  Use shoes, jewelry, belts and handbags as needed to vary your look, which will add variety and also help overcome the feeling that you are wearing the same thing every day.

For men, some of you are wearing a suit, but most of you are in a button-down shirt with trousers and a sport coat.  The sport coat is important because it will set you apart from everyone else and remember to pop in that pocket square.

A pocket square elevates the look/iStock photo courtesy of  STYLEdge®

Set the tone for your day with a look of success.  This feeling will carry you through the day and add to your performance as you handle whatever comes your way with ease and grace.  After all, your image is a component of your productivity, performance, profitability and ultimately your paycheck.

Now let’s start to think about what you are going to wear to that High Impact Meeting to land a big client, lead your industry and engage your community.  More on all of that in my next column.

Use these tips to exude your look of confidence and success.  I encourage to contact me at patty.soltis@styledgefashion.com when you have a question, and you can follow STYLEdge® Fashion on social media.  Pick up a copy of “First Impressions Last”, my book for the professional woman, to start your journey of confidence.


 Patty Soltis has spent the last three years as a frequently sought-after image consultant who specializes in working with alpha business leaders to match their brand with a credible and professional image.  She worked in retail for 27 years and was the general manager at the prominent retailers Lord & Taylor and Marshall Fields.  Patty worked for nearly 14 years at Neiman Marcus, mainly as their vice president.  She has worked with thousands of professionals over decades of change on their timeless image.  Patty can be seen on television and heard on radio and podcast shows.  She has been in media in print and online regularly as an expert.  She is the author of First Impressions Last, a book for the professional woman to exude confidence, power and skill with her attire.

Her Five Modes of Professional Attire give the client an impression to start the journey to competence, power and success.  Most of all, her clients make an impression that exudes leadership, achievement and results as an industry leader.  As a professional speaker, Patty communicates how to dress for success in a candid and interactive manner.  She educates and trains her audience how to put the Five Modes of Professional Attire into their life with ease and simplicity.  Patty points out items to invest in for a “cost per wear” return and how to shop on a budget.

Be powerful, be impressive, be memorable.

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