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Dress For Success

Where to find professional fashion sense

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Andrea Margarita Benavides, Bad Peace fashion blogger and influencer. photo courtesy of Andrea Benavides.

Deciding what to wear can be nerve-racking for most people – especially when trying to dress regularly for work. Not only are buying clothes expensive, but it can also become a daunting daily task.

So, where can someone get fashion advice? According to “Bad Peace” blogger and influencer, Andrea Margarita Benavides, most people can get inspiration from stylists like herself, or from social media sources like Pinterest and Instagram.

People can become easily confused when it comes to choosing clothes because fashion trends always change. “A lot of people who come to me don’t know how to dress because the fashion industry is constantly changing and sometimes there are unique pieces that come out that people have a hard time figuring how to wear,” she says.

Many individuals get overwhelmed when shopping, particularly when choosing to buy business clothing. Understanding a particular work environment and dress policy is valuable prior to buying key wardrobe pieces.

“Office spaces vary between industries – corporate fashion really fluctuates because some corporate dress is more professional than others that are more casual – but one main consideration is to dress to impress especially for a job interview,” explains Benavides.

Overall impressions are important when it comes to getting a job. Therefore, choosing the right style is essential in a professional setting.

“One thing I post on my blog all the time … is making it your own because there are no rules when it comes to fashion; but in a corporate environment things can become more grey depending on the policies,” she states.

Another good way of getting expert advice is to shop at stores where consultants are available to help. Thomas Jeffery Men’s Wear provides fashion advice depending upon a person’s requests.

“We believe that it is more important to service our customer’s needs rather than just make a sale. We are prepared to go to our customer and provide direction whether it be individual or at the office for many,” explains Len Hamm, owner of Thomas Jeffery Men’s Wear.

Such services are particularly helpful for men looking for convenience and ease in shopping. Many customers prefer stores where sales associates provide quick advice without being too pushy.

“The first thing they want is an atmosphere that gives great service that is hassle-free. They want to deal with people who know what they are talking about and can direct them properly and quickly, as most men do not like to shop,” he adds.

Even though today’s media sources influence the average person, there are benefits to working with a consultant who can provide the right guidance. This is especially true when a stylist can provide feedback on current trends.

“We go to great lengths to training our staff about what is happening in the world of fashion. We do not believe in commission sales as it is our belief that our customer should buy the products for his or her needs,” says Hamm.

Similarly, the employees at O’Connors Men’s & Women’s Clothing & Footwear have many years of professional experience in the retail industry. Sales associates go on buying trips to deepen their understanding of different clothing styles.

“We offer personal customer service that is very important to us and our clients, as well as a great deal of knowledge for their needs,” explains Joanne Richardson, O’Connors retail buyer and manager.

Getting advice from a well-seasoned fashion consultant can provide the right education about putting a professional look together. Also, learning how to choose key fashion pieces and accessories for business apparel is valuable.

Richardson believes, “Selection, fit and a professional look will always be the hallmark of a proper wardrobe. Having said that, office and corporate cultures are changing and adapting now more than ever. Understanding the greater variety of workplace attire is key to helping clients maintain and build their professional clothing choices.”

Sometimes one can emulate someone else’s style to achieve a desired look. Many people get their fashion sense from what their business colleagues are wearing.

“People always notice someone who is well put together and I always encourage them to ask that person where they shop – hopefully it’s with us! Of course, social media continues to dominate, but people still take many fashion cues from magazines and TV shows,” she explains.

Still, dressing properly for a workplace environment can be challenging if there are no clear parameters or guidelines to follow.

“I believe that a person looking to be hired by a firm should do his or her homework about that company,” says Hamm.

For many, the challenge of knowing what clothing attire is appropriate for work can be confusing. Buying traditional pieces that are interchangeable is both cost effective and practical.

“Most people want to make sure they are dressed appropriately for the workplace they are in. People do not understand that dressing casually for men is more difficult than shopping for dress clothing. One of the best ways to start is by buying a sport coat and building out from there,” he explains.

Having versatile clothing is important today especially with the high cost of fashion. Many individuals prefer to buy something that is more expensive if it is of good quality. Ultimately, comfort is key when selecting stylish business clothes.

“There is a definite trend to more comfortable clothing. Technical-blended fabrics that are easier to care for are increasing in demand. People want their wardrobes to be multifunctional – like throwing on a pair of slim-cut dark denims at 5 p.m. with a work blazer and then going out for drinks,” adds Richardson.

Designing a wardrobe that is age appropriate, comfortable and suitable for work can still be difficult if one does not have the patience, time and skillfulness to pick out clothes.

But getting fashion advice does not mean one’s entire clothing apparel needs to be changed or thrown away. Sometimes simply updating or adding a few new pieces can make a difference.

“I work with all women who are in need of a fresher look or want to update their wardrobe because they are bored with their existing clothes and want new ideas. Sometimes it is easier to bring in a third party like me because I am objective, rather than to do it yourself,” explains Paulina Ramis, owner of Paulina Ramis Style Consulting.

As a personal stylist, Ramis focuses on helping her clientele feel confident and comfortable. “I try to give my clients the tools to dress appropriately for their profession or business. At the end of the experience, they feel comfortable that they are presenting the right image to clients, peers and colleagues,” she says.

When it comes to what corporations are looking for in professional dress, Ramis believes “They are expecting a look to reflect professionalism where the clothing doesn’t play a main role, but accents personality to look sharp yet capable.”

Wearing clothes with confidence is essential when dressing professionally for work. Interestingly, the right type of business apparel can help one feel more poised and self-assured.

“I like to pass along the concept of ‘own your style’ which not only represents what you do, but embodies (one’s) personality. When shopping, selecting investment pieces is a great starting point. These are building blocks of any wardrobe. I always incorporate less-expensive items that will provide versatility during the week. Know where to splurge and where to save,” adds Ramis.

There are plenty of clothing stores and services available for finding fashion advice, but Ramis believes “Being comfortable in what you wear makes a significant impact on your behaviour and how you carry yourself.”

Finding the right style may never be easy, but there are different options available for people wanting help with putting a professional look together.

Surely, fashion might be in the eye of a beholder. But in the end the only thing that matters is how personal style makes one feel.

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