Dressing for the workplace: What you wear, or don’t wear, might cost you

We all know the importance of dressing for success when it comes to job-hunting, but it's just as important – critically important, says one best-selling book author – to pay close attention to your looks once you land the position.

Your appearance is paramount to the future you have with your company, says Charla Krupp, author of "How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better." The New York City-based fashion-and-style expert says it's not about vanity, but rather survival, when it comes to your looks in the workplace.

Consider the shaky economic times we're in, Krupp says. With companies downsizing and the Boomer generation working well into their older years, the workplace is an uncertain place these days, particularly for women, she says.

Krupp's solution: don't let your looks go by the wayside.

"You have to look at yourself like your business card. Are you saying you know what's going on in the world, or are you saying you're stuck in the '80s?" Krupp says. "Everything you wear and everything on your body makes a statement. I'm not saying we need to look 20, but we need to look current."

This is not to say that sharp business skills won't take you places. Rather, it's about cultivating confidence and creating "a fantastic package to the outside world."

"People size you up in seven seconds – there's been studies done on this – so you need to put your absolute best picture forward," she says.

Local businessman John Pugh, who has been impressing customers with his penchant for dressing well as a longtime employee at Moeggenberg's Menswear, agrees that first impressions in the workplace are important.

"People tend to take you more seriously when you dress well," Pugh says.

Seasonal wardrobe changes, if only a new accessory, jacket or pair of shoes, are a good way of keeping your workplace look fresh. Wendy Buhr, owner of Ella's in downtown, says this season's "in" colors include "beautiful grass green, bright, happy purple, and yellow from butter to sunshine."

"They are all fun to mix with the boring blacks and browns we've been living in this winter until the weather permits us to wear them full on," she says.

Skirts and dress hems are above the knee to mini, Buhr says. Of course, be careful with too-short skirts depending upon the culture of your workplace.

WHAT'S HOT FOR SPRING AND SUMMER:

– Blousy tops and baby-dolls

– Waist belts

– Cropped and boxy jackets a'la Jackie Kennedy

– Belted trench coats, lightweight scarves, tailored vests

– Wide-leg trousers. Buhr suggests wearing them with chunky soled

pumps or flats. "Think Kate Hepburn," she says. "And the

pant rise is wherever your figure needs it, thank God!"

– Grecian sandals, artsy jewelry and chandelier earrings

TO APPEAR MORE YOUTHFUL-LOOKING ON THE JOB, SAYS KRUPP:

– Update your hairstyle by coloring it and getting a fresh, current cut

– Revitalize your wardrobe by tossing dated clothing and

investing in classic pieces as well as a few trendy selections.

– Replace older eyewear with a new style. "Eyewear is such an

important statement," Krupp says. "It's the one accessory that

sits on your face and what is it saying about you?" One sure way to age yourself fast: wearing eyeglasses around your neck

on a necklace.

– Whiten your teeth. "Everyone's teeth get yellowed or grayer

and smaller," she says. "Get your teeth big and bright and white."

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