Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five Common Executive Image Mistakes –And How to Avoid Them

As a new or even top executive, your image matters. In today’s business environment, judgments are made in the blink of an eye. Follow these five tips to avoid common executive image mistakes and ensure your effectiveness.

Clothing that Makes You Appear Invisible
You may want to be a dynamic executive. However, if you find the boardroom keeping you out, the first question to ask is: are you wearing your personal power colors that demand attention. Color is a powerful business tool that you do not want to overlook as you build your executive image. The fashion colors this season may or may not be your friends. Get your colors professionally done to ensure every bright, neutral or pastel color you put on is sending the message you want it to send. You will find that when you wear the colors that are best for you, you will get more attention, be taken more seriously and perhaps best of all, you will feel more confident.

Forgetting to Dress Office Appropriate
If you are wearing super low-rise pants and your underwear is peeking out of the back, what message is that sending? Other inappropriate dressing may include a too short skirt. Even if it is the trend, it is not appropriate in an office environment and some people will not take you seriously. No matter how proud you are of your chest, showing more than a hint of cleavage will work against you in a coed work environment.

Even in warmer climates open-toed shoes should be saved for the weekend, and opt for pants if you really cannot stand wearing nylons. Bare legs and arms send a casual message that may not serve your career goals.

Even on Casual Friday do not get too casual – skip the T-shirt and tattered jeans. If you are in a position of authority or if you want to be remembered, always wear a third piece: a jacket or a sweater or even a colored shawl should be worn over your blouse or dress. This is your authority piece and an important part of your wardrobe.

Falling Head First into the Fashion Trends
Do you find that you gravitate to the ‘have-to-haves’ of the season? This may be a challenge as time goes on because you will continually have to update your wardrobe. By choosing timeless pieces, you can bring in a new piece to mix-and-match with your current wardrobe without breaking the bank every season.

If you really want to be fashion forward from 9-5, consider wearing only one trend piece at a time. This way you will still look current and hip without looking like you care more about fashion than looking professional.

Overdoing Accessories…or No Accessories at All
At work, your accessories should complete and complement your outfit, not be attention grabbers themselves. Still, do not be afraid to wear one statement jewelry piece or bold accessory – just not several at the same time. A great handbag or briefcase can polish your outfit to perfection. However, four necklaces, six bracelets and a big buckle belt will be a bit much for any outfit, and will send the wrong message at the office.

This also applies to your makeup – wear makeup, but do not overdo it. Your makeup is also an accessory – it should be fresh and should polish your look. Keep the adventurous accessories and dramatic makeup for your evening activities.

A Dated Hairdo
Nothing says, “I am not on the cutting edge of my profession” quicker than an out-dated hairdo. Keep your hairstyle current. If you are donning a 1960s bob or 1970s flip style, it is probably time to update that look. Consult your hairstylist or an image consultant to find out the best possible looks for your face shape and skin tone. Try flipping through different magazines and find a style that you like. An updated hairdo can give you a whole new level of confidence.

Select one or two of the tips above to focus on over the next two weeks and make the necessary adjustments to your executive image. You will see results and garner the respect and attention you deserve, while having more confidence in your executive image.

1 comment:

Barry Unterbrink said...

Hi, Elaine:
Always salient and pertinent advice you give out...

Merry Christmas also!