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Do's and Don'ts of Your Workplace Wardrobe


In this market, talent needs to be complemented with good fashion.

Want respect in the workplace? Take a long hard look in your mirror, closet, and around your office.

Does what we wear really have an impact on our work? Can you assign an economic value to the right blazer or the wrong footwear?

I consulted with stylists, designers, and career coaches to find out. While none would affix a specific number to a specific garment, opinion was unanimous. Clothes matter. Whether you'd like to admit it or not, the clothes you wear to work send messages to your colleagues and higher-ups.

When you dress in a sloppy carefree manner, your co-workers can get the impression your work and work ethic are similarly disheveled. In this market, you need every advantage you can get.

"Although the saying goes you should never judge a book by its cover, that doesn't mean people don't. First impressions are important and have a lasting effect," says Lea Marshiano, marketing associate for fashion designer Anne Fontaine. "The right clothes can do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence … when you look good, you feel good."

Don't think of clothing as a luxury. Categorize it as essential pieces that will help you grow during your career.

"Clothing says a lot about your personality, so dress the way you want to be perceived," says Stefani Gartenberg, co-founder of fashion website "The key to building a wardrobe is to have classic essentials."

Shopping for your professional wardrobe can seem like a job in itself. Try to caffeinate beforehand. Wear comfortable clothing you can easily slip on and off.

Curtis Davis, stylist and host of SecondLook TV, recommends shopping at the end of each season. This is when you can get the best deals for designer pieces. Most end-of-season sales mark down clothing by as much as 75%.

And now, some do's and don'ts of workplace fashion every man and woman should consider.

(Please click on the left below for Fashion Do's, and on the right for Fashion Don'ts.)

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