Dressing The Part: 5 Wardrobe Items You Need To Meet Your Career Goals


“Fashion is one of the most powerful tools to convey who you are and what you want the world to see you as,” celebrity stylist Estee Stanley tells me, as I nod in agreement over the phone.

We're talking about the importance of using what you're wearing to help boost your confidence and get you what you want out of life and your career. It’s a mission she’s specifically partnered with Marshalls on to help women tap into their power using clothes as tools for feeling good about themselves.

Because really, when you look good, you feel good, which translates to motivation to take action towards achieving your goals.

Think about it: When you leave the house wearing something you love, it changes how you act, how you feel and the impression you give off. You wouldn’t show up to a first date wearing clothes you found at the bottom of the pile, right?

“Getting what you want out of life starts with how you feel about yourself,” asserts Stanley. “And feeling like you look your best can help boost that confidence.”

Dream of pushing boundaries on the frontiers of new media? Passionate about public relations and connecting with people? Here are the wardrobe items you need to meet your career goals, with expert recommendations from Estee.

For the corporate analyst

Your motto: Invest for success.

You might work in finance, but it doesn’t mean you need to break your personal bank. “I don’t understand what’s happened to planet Earth,” jokes Stanley, “It’s crazy how expensive fashion is now.”

Your tip: Invest in high-quality basics you can wear over and over. “Great heels, amazing blazers and timeless staples,” suggests Stanley. Inject your personal style with accessories, like shoes and bags, which you can affordably swap each season.

For the public relations pro

Your motto: Presentation is key.

“I have this running thing about PR girls,” explains Stanley, “they always look really professional, and you know to take them seriously.” Their confidence is reflected by their put-together uniform.

Your tip: Since PR ladies never really "turn off," it’s important their wardrobe transitions from the workday to an evening event. You can’t go wrong with an updated, polished black suit, a dress with a tailored jacket or slacks with a trendy sweater. “You just have to change the shoes or your bag,” adds Stanley. Voila, on to the next one!

For the writer guru

Your motto: Find your comfort zone.

If you’re sitting writing all day, you shouldn’t have to worry about the button on your jeans digging into your stomach. “When I see people wearing something that is too tight, it stresses me out,” jokes Stanley. You can’t exude confidence if you’re worried about how uncomfortable you are.

Your tip: “It’s not necessarily what you wear, but how you wear it,” advises Stanley. As long as you’re comfortable and confident, you can put on anything from ripped jeans to a great heel to a pair of slacks and a cute top. Don’t be afraid to wear what you love.

For the tech-xpert:

Your motto: No slacking.

Techies, engineers and computer geniuses who work in non-corporate settings still have demanding and fast-paced positions, but “can be more casual and friendly looking” describes Stanley. Though the workplace is fun and doesn’t require a stiff uniform, “that doesn’t mean you should be slacking in your office wardrobe,” she adds.

Your tip: Stanley says, “You can incorporate colors and prints while keeping it professional.” Your world is prime for bottoms that pop, a statement shirt or killer street style. “Keep your choices limited to one strong statement instead of multiples,” notes Stanley. You want to maintain some consistency.

For the “business casual”-confused soul

Your motto: Accessorize with what you’ve got.

Business casual is very different in every workplace, but it lies somewhere between what you’d wear to Temple (aka covered shoulders) and what you’d wear to brunch (nothing too flimsy). Basically: it's the outfit you’d wear to an interview -- safe and professional, with a hint of personal style.

Your tip: You’ve probably stuck to a routine of khakis, button downs, and timeless black dresses, but you can “dress it up with accessories that speak to your personality,” suggests Stanley. Inject some confidence with shoes and bags that speak to your tastes.

“You have to feel confident because that is how you achieve your goals in the world,” Stanley states.