So you consider yourself an intelligent member of your team…is this showing in what you wear? Remember, most people make assumptions about your position, intelligence level within the first few seconds of meeting you. Why give them the wrong perception and start off on the wrong foot? If you think your work image isn’t giving you the promotion or recognition you deserve, it’s time to smarten up. Follow these tips:

1. Dark, neutral colours
Ensure your outfit’s most prominent item is in a darker, neutral colour e.g. navy, charcoal, black blazer. The lighter the brighter the outfit the more casual you will look. So team up a turquoise shirt with a charcoal blazer. Colour has a profound influence not only on how smart you look but also how you feel – read on for the meaning of colours.

2. Keep prints to a minimum
If you are going to include a print in your outfit select a small pinstripe, or check rather than large, bold stripes, checks, and geometric patterns. You will appear smarter if you limit the amount and size of print on your outfit.


3. Structured Tailoring
Select a more tailored garment rather than anything too loose or flowing.
Opt for a structured blazer as opposed to an unstructured jacket. Choose a pencil skirt rather than a flowing gypsy skirt. Purchase minimalistic, well tailored clothes that fit like you were born in them.

4. Wear a second layer
The correct tailored jacket will instantly uplift your look. A ‘second layer” of some sort will do the trick too – a cardigan, sleeveless vest or waistcoat.

5. Collar up
Collared shirts are an uniform standard in most academic institutions and therefore associated with a level of “smartness”. A collared shirt will look smarter than a frilly blouse or crew neck top.

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6. Select “smart” fabrics
Rather than selecting a thick, coarse very texturized fabric select a smooth, plain, no shine fabric. Stay away from fabrics that crease easily – you will look like an unmade bed!

7. Pay attention to detail
Keep the detail on your garments as plain as possible. So avoid a pair of pants that has a lot of zippers, turn-ups, pockets, buttons, etc. Rather select a plain flat front pair of pants.

8. The Fit is key
You can be wearing a $4 000 Hugo Boss suit if the fit is wrong – you will look cheap. You can wear a $30 outfit and if the fit is impeccable for you – you can look like a million dollars. When selection key wardrobe staples – a white shirt, a dark suit, a shift dress, a red tie – ensure they are in the best quality you can afford. To learn more about the correct jacket fit click here

9. Accessories speak volumes
Keep these discreet and to a minimum. Don’t be known as the “gold medallion” guy or the “bling” girl from HR. Ensure your accessories match the level of your outfit – so a formal to smart outfit needs fine jewellery, discreet watches. Smart casual outfits can be paired with bigger, bolder costume jewellery, bulky watches. Ladies to ensure you make the correct bag choice visit here.

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10. Put your best shoe forward
Rather have 3 pairs of good quality leather shoes than 250 cheap looking plastic shoes. To ensure you are putting your best shoe forward learns some key shoe strategies here.

11. Groom to perfection
Beware the over-powering fragrance/after shave; chipped gothic nail polish; long nostril hair; brightly coloured hair streaks; five o clock shadow – these are all tell tale signs that you don’t pay attention to the detail of your brand and will make you appear unprofessional.

By following these 11 steps you will come across as super-smart in no time.


For more info on our Packaged For Success keynote/program connect with us:

USA Branch – Tel: 951 970 4347 (Haydee Antezana)
SA Branch – Tel: (011) 616 9712 / 082 3301558 (Sharon King Gabrielides)