Career: 5 Ways to Dress to Land Your Dream Job

A confident African American businesswoman in her office.Want to be taken seriously?

Guest blog by: Gerena Gregory

A few months ago, I walked into a corporate building in Manhattan, and literally gasped when I saw a young lady, in her early twenties donning the tiniest black miniskirt, which looked more suited for the club! As busy as the foyer was, everyone – from the janitor to the manager – was transfixed. Credit where it’s due, she had killer legs, but that was inconsequential for the sheer amount of flesh on display. To top things off, she wore a transparent white top and a colored bra – yes, a colored bra! Then I discovered she had an interview scheduled…Lord…it truly was a case of, wrong outfit at the wrong time!

Memo to all my fellow workers, do not ever let me catch you at the water cooler looking like that (okay I’m kidding)! It should come as no surprise that too much nudity, is a big fat NO in any industry. While there are various necessities we can invest in: Top 10 Investment Pieces Every Smart Woman Needs For Her Wardrobe first impressions matter in the corporate environment more than anything! Therefore it’s vital to point out the 5 ways to dress, to land your dream job, excel in your internship and keep yourself looking top notch in the city:

The Black Trouser = Serious

Before purchasing that cute cropped pant, with a cute pattern, from your cute neighborhood store, puhlease invest in a black full length trouser. Remember way back when (or even now) when you needed something to wear and your mom would say, “put on something black, it goes with everything,” – or was that just my mom? Well ladies, a black pant is the most flexible garment you can own, whether dressed up, down, heels or flats, during happy hour or for business, it is an essential.

At the snap of our fingers, we can transform any black trouser into a suit, by pairing them with a classic white shirt, and a black blazer for an interview or meeting BUT and this is a big BUT, please, please, please invest in a black pant that fits well! In this case, investing doesn’t necessarily mean buying a fancy label – frugality rules! Nope, it refers to putting in the effort to find a pant with a little stretch, a sturdy waist band, the correct length, and a boot cut which normally suits all shapes.

The Classic White Shirt = Serious

I can hear you saying, “but black is depressing and majorly drab” fair enough, so opt for a navy or grey trouser instead…(dramatic pause) but whatever color you choose, pairing your pants with a classic white shirt is a MUST! I’m currently searching for the ultimate one myself, so this may sound obvious however, the shirt should be collared, your sleeves should end and button at the wrist, so that you can roll them up neatly if necessary. The end of the shirt should be long enough to be tucked into your bottoms, without lifting out each time you sit, stretch or reach for something.  Wearing a classic white shirt is appropriate when job hunting or during an interview. Studies have shown that you are more likely to win a contract wearing a white shirt, okay MY studies show, lol! Seriously, wear one and you’ll notice a huge difference.

The Black Heeled Pump = Serious 

Before you rush to buy those gorgeous cobalt blue sandals from Nine West, ask yourself if you have a black working shoe, with the right heel in your closet? Working as a Legal Assistant myself, I get asked what the right heel height for work is? And how high is too high? Wearing a kitten heel (at the very least) is a pre-requisite to pulling off the ultimate “I am here to work” look.

On average, heels up to 3 inches are recommended for ultimate comfort throughout the day. Ensure your shoes are closed, as exposing toe cleavage at your job is a big a no-no!  Not everyone works in an environment that requires heels, but be sure to have a pair in your closet, as you never know when they will come in handy.

A Black Blazer = Serious 

These days, a blazer is one of the easiest items a girl can acquire. Your black blazer needs to be good quality and plain. When buying the perfect jacket, ensure the sleeves end shortly above your wrists for a touch of elegance. Ideally the blazer silhouette should sit on your waist to accentuate your curves. Worn alone, or as a suit, a plain blazer works well in every situation.

Pearls = Serious

Pearl earrings and a matching necklace are a girl’s best friend, because pearls exude class. Wear them with your classic white shirt and jeans for casual Fridays, or make them your accessory of choice for the day or night. Remember, wearing pearls is a stand out statement, which conveys:

“I am a successful BLACKCITYGIRL.”

More about Gerena Gregory:

“I am currently living in New York working as a legal assistant. My goal is to become a Corporate Lawyer and will be starting law school this fall. I wrote this post because as a Gen Y lady I believe that the way we as woman present ourselves in the workplace is important in securing our place in our desired occupations. I think of myself as my co-workers keeper.”

Are there any basic essentials you would add to this list?

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