Style Secrets Of The Super Successful
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Work It1 of 10
By Kelly Mickle
Sure, the skills on your résumé are important for climbing the career ladder, but so is your work wardrobe: 41 percent of employees said people who dress better or more professionally tend to be promoted more often than others in their organization, a survey by Careerbuilder.com reveals. Got your eye on the corner office? Steal these nine dress-for-success secrets from some business-savvy celebs and CEOs.
Know Your Audience2 of 10
Like first lady Michelle Obama in a sweet, feminine floral dress, use your fashion sense to connect with others. "Think of your attire as another tool in your arsenal to build rapport with customers and coworkers," says Jennifer Baumgartner, PsyD, author of You Are What You Wear. "If your client dresses more casually in jeans and a T-shirt, reflect that look with a simple skirt, crewneck sweater and flats rather than a business suit to make yourself more relatable."
Stand Tall3 of 10
Want to earn more money? Ditch your flats and definitely, no slouching. According to a 2004 study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, each inch above average (which is 5'3" for women) may be worth $789 more per year. Even if you're not Karolina Kurkova, who placed 6th among Forbes's top-earning models in 2007, you can still get a raise (physically and professionally!) with help from comfortable chunky-heeled pumps.
Be Detail-Oriented4 of 10
Actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow knows style doesn't end with your outfit. Baumgartner recommends paying attention to details like your makeup, hair and nails. You'd be surprised what the higher-ups notice, like chipped polish or hair that's more bedroom than boardroom.
Invest Wisely5 of 10
Fashion mogul Tory Burch proves a classic black dress doesn’t have to be boring worn with dangling earrings and an oversize ring. "Invest in classic cuts and colors, then inject your personality with accessories, such as the shoe, piece of jewelry or belt," says Baumgartner. "This allows you to push the boundaries without compromising your professionalism."
Dress for Comfort6 of 10
Effortlessly chic in an understated sweater and pants, Angelina Jolie—who balances acting with humanitarian work as a United Nations goodwill ambassador—shows you don't have to sacrifice comfort for style. "Wear clothes that allow you to physically accomplish your job, such as walking, bending, standing or presenting," says Baumgartner. Kat Griffin, founder of Corporette, advises taking an extra step: "Place a chair in front of a mirror and check yourself out from all angles as you sit, bend down or lean over to make sure all areas are covered."
Pick a Trend7 of 10
While it's perfectly acceptable to express your love for fashion, dressing head-to-toe in the latest trends can make it look like you're trying too hard. "Pick one trendy item—say, a floral blazer or a peplum top—and keep the rest of your look simple and more conservative," says Griffin. Follow Jessica Alba's lead: The actress and The Honest Company co-founder paired funky lace-up heels with a traditional tweed jacket and basic button-down.
Tailor It8 of 10
Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg knows the secret to a successful work wardrobe: a good tailor. "Whether it's too voluminous or too tight, ill-fitting clothes can make you appear less competent—designer label or not," says Griffin. "Clothes should be pressed and tailored to fit your body and make the best impression."
Shop for a Sheath9 of 10
Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, who's also the brains behind the major media company Latin WE, understands the versatility of a sheath dress. As Baumgartner says, "I've found that the most comfortable, affordable and versatile look for work is the sheath, either above or below the knee with a heel that suits your comfort level."
Follow Suit10 of 10
Ashley Olsen may be known for making the disheveled look cool, but the entrepreneurial style star understands when it's time to look business-appropriate. Not sure of your office dress code? Conduct a field study: "Like scientists who camp in the jungle to study gorillas, sit in the lunchroom or parking lot and take note of what others are wearing," says Baumgartner. "Dressing in a similar fashion will ensure your look is appropriate."
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