Sure, your Excel skills are polished, but are your shoes?
New York, NY (Vocus) August 27, 2009
Current figures show that unemployment rates are still rising, and threaten to hit the 10% mark soon. Sobering job market statistics, according to publicist and recent author Marco Larsen, should put gainfully employed professionals on the offensive.
Larsen points out that many determined employees are shooting themselves in the foot with disregard for the finer points of the professional world. As the workplace becomes increasingly competitive mere minutiae can separate success from termination. "Sure, your Excel skills are polished, but are your shoes?"
"DON'T: the essential guide to publicity in New York City (and any other city that matters)" is written as a style guide for the world of business. With an introduction by Carson Kressley, "DON'T" aims to help readers polish their professional personas through detailed discussion about a range of topics that fit under the more social or unspoken aspects of the workday.
Worried that what you wear isn't communicating the right messages to your employers? Looking to expand your professional wardrobe but unsure what to invest in? Larsen shares a few of his favorite business attire DON'Ts:
- DON'T Fall Prey to the Casual Conundrum - Styling for gentlemen is very much about propriety. Jeans, designer t-shirts, boots, and jewelry other than watches/cufflinks/wedding bands read as juvenile. Aside from celebrity hairdressers, those who make a living playing the guitar, or anyone working for Cirque de Soleil, this rule brooks no exception. Also note: women worth sleeping with do not find "cute" socks alluring. (This rule, incidentally, may equally be applied to your underwear)
- DON'T Commute in Running Shoes - Remember Melanie Griffith in Working Girl? Maybe, like her, you really are schlepping hours a day between your gig in Manhattan and your crash pad in the outer boroughs - but why advertise it? A killer image is only killer if applied at all times. Women at the executive level, to which I trust you aspire, are either driven home, take a taxi, or endure a brief subway ride… in their heels. Putting on trainers signals that the life you envision is one of assisting someone into their shoes, not filling those shoes yourself. And, of course, that you have poor taste.
- DON'T Debase Your Feet - Even for men shoes demarcate style and good taste. Women always (always) gauge a man's sophistication by his shoes. Avoid anything cheap, uncomfortable, or overly trendy; design should suggest craftsmanship and classic elegance. That's all. Opt for an English- or Italian-made black Oxford, wingtip. Logos, tassels, and fancy folderol all reek of desperation.
- DON'T Overspice - Too hip, too cute, too edgy; excessive fashions communicate professional naïveté. Admittedly, there's nothing quite like flaunting it while you're young. If you do have a fantastic figure, wrap it proudly in Diane von Furstenberg and go out for cocktails. Meanwhile, back at the office your position depends on power, and power goes far beyond inspiring men to clownish behavior. Strong women climb the ladder by displaying stellar talents, not just a stellar derriere.
- DON'T Chase Trends - Who wants to be seen with the same "must-have" sunglasses as every other silly young thing? If it's already available as a knock-off in Chinatown, fashion has officially passed you by.
In demanding financial times many might term close attention to one's clothing as superfluous or an inappropriate luxury. Yet in just such an environment the smallest advantages can matter the most. A striking comportment communicates dedication, attention to detail, and professionalism.
Simply put, it's common sense. At the end of the day, if given the choice, who do you think they'll lay off? Smartly dressed you, or the schlub sitting in the next cubicle?
About Marco Larsen:
Mr. Larsen founded the firm, P U B L I C, nyc in 2007 - a boutique public relations firm in Manhattan that caters to a number of high profile clients, from Fortune 100 Financial Services to private aviation and independent film studios.
P U B L I C, nyc has developed a brand of public relations called "bespoke publicity" - a highly tailored approach to media outreach.