Dressing for success is not relegated to business boardrooms or more traditional, corporate style desk jobs. Dressing for longevity and a successful career is for anyone in business. If you are reading this you are more than likely in business. Even if your name is not on the door or the service menu, if you are building a clientele then you are in business. Whether you pay a booth or room rent, work on commission, salary or an hourly rate, dressing for success is important.

Why Dressing for Success Works

As independent contractors or even employees you will always benefit from preparedness. Dressing for success does not mean being bound up in uncomfortable garments, face full of make-up and painful shoes; it’s about presenting yourself and your talents in your best light.

Ever hear of the shoe cobbler who wore shoes with holes in them? Well, some in the beauty/wellness industry act the same way- hair stylists with ratty hair, skin therapists with unclean skin, nail technicians with nails not groomed, body workers with a cold temperament or dirty fingernails.  Many service providers hanging on to the old adage, “I give to everyone else and cannot find the time for me.”  Well, it is now time to give to yourself and to your business. 

Reflect on how many opportunities you may have missed by dressing how you feel rather than for success. The main reason is that in this industry, in most cases, there is no guaranteed paycheck coming at the end of the week.

Because your financial compensation varies on how many clients you service, it is in your best interest to create a consistent clientele. So, where are these clients? The answer is, clients are everywhere! Anywhere and everywhere you go there are potential clients.

To ensure consistent revenue it is extremely important to always be representing your business with your personal appearance. Within your normal daily routines, other people are present, and people equal clients. Think of all the potential clients while grocery shopping, on a hiking trip, yoga class, dog walks, dental appointments and even picking up/dropping the kids off at school.

Life will happen. There are good days and bad days in every life, ups and downs will come and go, but your attire does not need to reflect your internal state. Of course it is easy to put on a spectacular outfit when you are feeling on top of the world but what about on days when you are blue, devastated or feeling like not being seen. These days will happen and being prepared for these days is the smartest way to ensure a successful career.

Assemble These 5 Go-To Outfits

How do you dress for success, even on days you're not feeling it? 

Go into your current closet utilizing what you already have and choose 5 Go-To Key Outfits for each of the following occasions (these, in essence, will be your self-appointed uniforms).

Outfit 1: On Display

A snazzy, dressed to impress look is essential for any successful businessperson. This is for an important meeting, a big opportunity, an interview, an appearance, leading an education class/seminar or an industry event. Think the LBD- little black dress.

If dresses are not your thing, a black suit jacket or professional pantsuit is a great option. Have your best accessories on hand along with a statement or classic shoe. An all black go-to costume is always a sleek and safe option. The guideline is to make sure the black coloring is of the same hue. (Overly washed black garments or lesser quality fabrics may have a gray or greenish faded hue- use these for cleaning out the garage or organizing your work supplies, not when you will be in the spotlight).

By purchasing go-to dressy looks before you need them you will always be prepared. Become a clearance rack queen to build up your ‘On Display’ wardrobe at a fraction of the price. This way when opportunity arises your clothing is already set, freeing up time, energy and finances to focus entirely on your delivery and/or travel.

Outfit 2: Service Provider

Secure, movable and breathable outfit options for workdays when you’re providing services to clients. Choose workable, professional looking clothing that you can easily move in. When scrubs are appropriate have fresh laundered, stain free selections handy. If a complete or partial uniform is provided/required still make plans for footwear, maybe jewelry (small earrings, slim necklace) and clean, comfortable pants.

A rule of thumb is on any given day:  dress as if you will be blessed by servicing the client of your dreams. With this rule in effect, you are consistently always ready and set up for success. Fun fact: I always dressed as if I were going to meet Johnny Depp and have the opportunity to offer my services to him. 

Outfit 3: Days Off

Just because you are not “on the clock” doesn’t mean you have to look like you’re having an off day. Activities on these days may include running errands, performing daily routines to keep your life in order, attending children’s sports events, relaxing or hanging out with friends and family. Choose casual options with light accessories and comfortable shoes. Think sweaters, fun fitting t-shirts, jeans, good quality sweat suits or a loose fitting dress. High quality, clean workout or yoga clothes are a great option too. If it’s a day where you want to lay low, using some of the accessory options below will be a great fit.

Outfit 4: Lounge Around

These well deserved days, declaring, “I am doing nothing today,” most likely still require attire. When a self-mandated pajama day is in order, make your PJ’s flattering to your self worth. It’s been said, “Women do not dress for men, and they dress for other women.” Dressing for yourself and the success of your business even when alone in the privacy of your own home has energetic effects and intangible messages to your overall self-care and esteem. Think light fabrics, loose fitting gowns or travel clothes, plush robes and pieces you would wear if you were enjoying a spa day. There are clothes specifically designed for lounge wear and others marketed as ‘wake and wear’ dually created pieces that function for sleep and presentable enough for daily errands, etc.

Outfit 5: Down Day

These options are for days where you feel down and not at your emotional best. It could be a passing mood, menstrual cycle, a breakup, death or other life changing moments, so choose clothing options that make you look and feel comfortable. Just because you feel unpresentable does not mean you have to look unpresentable.

Think loose fitting pants, tights, an oversized shirt/sweatshirt/cardigan or a colorful caftan. Choose matching or complementary patterns/fabrics alternating solid colors with prints. Discard overly worn garments with holes, tears and stains to optimize self-care during these blue times. Having an already planned outfit for these days (guaranteed to be delivered by life) will keep your spirits stable.

Accessorize To Make Your Daily Life Easier.

Key tips for using accessories to keep you looking good even if you aren’t feeling good.

Sunglasses: A good option on days when you don’t want to apply a full face of make-up or may have been crying due to any of life’s events. Sunnies with transparent lenses can be useful for lunch events or meetings as your eyes can still be Seen.

Light Make-up: A quick dab of highlighter on your cheeks, mascara, lip-gloss or use a bright lip color to brighten your look.

Hair Rescue: An easy solution for ‘bad hair’ days is to throw on a head- scarf, hat, fashionable turbine or a decorated headband.

Jewelry: A fun way to add a bit of flair, especially to an all black outfit by incorporating earrings, a big chunky necklace, bangles or a large ring. On workdays wear subtle, classy pieces that may have a story behind them to share with your clients. (Or even better, jewelry that you are retailing).

Foot Wear: A necessary way to pull together an entire outfit. A snazzy pair of flats can make a ‘lounge outfit’ look great. Clean sneakers make errands comfortable and dress-up the popular (rubber) slides by wearing lace or fishnet socks. Thong sandals or flip-flops with a little bling are a great option too. Investing and proper maintenance of statement heels for your ‘On Display’ days will pay off and last decades. 

Shop your own closet to find five outfits for your different needs.  
 -  Lisaphotos195 on Pixabay

Shop your own closet to find five outfits for your different needs. 

Lisaphotos195 on Pixabay

Success Strategies Pay Off

If you are truthful, resourceful and practical you most likely have everything you need in your current wardrobe to fulfill these differing options. Do not spend any money or break the bank establishing these five go-to outfits. If you recognize items missing that are needed to complete your wardrobe then you can create a budget and a plan to purchase them overtime. A savvy way would be to set a financial service goal and when achieved use those funds to upgrade your business fashions.

Planning now, while you are in an upswing of life for how you will present yourself to the world in any and all situations is great for both your self-esteem and your business. As being prepared and ready to market yourself at a moment's notice or a chance meeting is integral for a long and prosperous career.

Naja, aka The Nail Guru is an award-winning nail artist, international educator and seasoned salon owner.  A key-note speaker and published writer, her nail work has been seen on Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Kanye West, LL Cool J and many more. She holds a Guinness World Record for the most polish changes in an 8-hour period. (with 69 polish changes). Her passion is helping young entrepreneurs in the beauty field make consistent CASH from their CRAFT. She offers online classes, monthly workshops & coaching for professionals on the business side of the beauty industry Find out more: @the_naja or  learn.najanailguru.com

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Originally posted on NAILS Magazine