POINTS FROM PRA: OFFICE WEAR FOR LADIES IN BUSINESS SETTINGS Hey, I am happy to announce that today we are kicking off a new series, with me helming, writing and tackling some of the burning questions, trends and advice in this editorial column. I am going to be providing insider tips and cheat sheets that is going to help you navigate this jungle. In my first column or what I’d like to call an episode (I am a television freak), I am going to talk about fashion. Throughout my career, I have seen and experienced (from my own personal journey) some great fashion and some that cannot be unseen or forgotten. So, I thought that this would be a great start – first up – to know common mistakes you must avoid when dressing for work. MISTAKE 1: NOT WEARING TAILORED CLOTHES Look, you don’t have to wear expensive labels, but, by God, please tailor your clothes to your body. Don’t wear two sizes bigger or three sizes smaller. Go to the shop, try on the clothes you want to buy and ensure that they are the right size – not tight, not loose – but just falls right on your body. Remember dressing in something larger, would make you look messy and unkempt and squeezing yourself into something smaller is going to make you look uncomfortable. Comfort is the key to the best first impressions. When you look comfortable, you feel stylish, modern and that will show in the way you speak – confidence shines through and you are on your way to making waves during your first impression. MISTAKE 2: STOP FOLLOWING TREND I’ll be honest, not every trend is suited for everyone. And, that is okay, trust me. As cheesy as this may sound, don’t waste money on something that you are not sure you can ‘own’, be comfortable in or something you are not even sure you like. Neon coloured shirts for men or dresses for women is not the right kind of attention you want to draw onto yourself in a professional setting. Nor are wildly inappropriate writings on t-shirts – especially if you are in the business of meeting people. Everything you wear will be scrutinised before the customers even begin to listen to your pitch. So, stop following trend, wear what flatters you, remember the more comfortable and confident you look – the easier you can convince a customer on what you believe in. MISTAKE 3 : WEARING TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE MAKEUP Now this is one is for the ladies (I’ll try to throw in something in for the men at the end of this article.) Wearing too much makeup can be a turn-off. I once knew a boss who wore too much of lipstick, that by the end of the day the lip colour would be all over her face – her chin, nose, forehead, eyelids, teeth and sometimes her ears. No one liked speaking with her. Another incident happened to me personally, I decided to skip make up for the day, and had to sit for a meeting – the whole meeting my colleagues kept asking me if I was not well. What is the lesson here – wear makeup but enough to show you made an effort and to ensure that you look effortless instead of tired-looking. FOR THE MEN : MAKE DEODARANT YOUR BESTIE Men – body odour really does exist. It is not the sweat that smells, it is the bacteria on our skin that breaks down when we sweat that causes the nasty pit smells. Even if you are used to your smells, the person who stands in front of you, sits next to you or wants to engage in a business talk with you may be put off and just wants to be rid of you. First things first, bathe daily, please try not to save water by not bathing – there are other ways to be environmentally friendly. Then invest in a good perfume and deodorant. Find something masculine and not overpowering – I would suggest the Nivea Men Fresh Active Original or the Brut Original Deodorant Spray – both are reasonably priced and smells good. Trust me on this! Okay, remember the most important rule of dressing right for work– is for you to be confident and powered up! Remember to try on clothes before you purchase and get a friend’s opinion on the look and colour on you before you invest. I wish you all the very best and if you have anything you would like to share or ask me anything write to [email protected] and I will do my best to assist where I can. Pra Muniandi is the Regional Marcom Manager for SalesWorks Group Asia. She enjoys people watching and surfing the television from her couch when she is working or writing or managing a crisis. She still lives with her quirky traditional mom and enjoys every minute of it. Some of her advice in these columns comes from listening to her wise mom and cranky best friends.