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Tips of Power Dressing for Working Women : By Dr. Harleen Kaur

Dr. Harleen Kaur with The MCI Staff

What Is Power Dressing?

I believe every woman is different and has her own personal style DNA. Therefore every working woman needs individual, personalized  wardrobe on how to create visual balance. Being from the army background, I have always been passionate about my dressing style. Being the head of an International school I have been giving my female staff the relevant advice so that they can dress themselves in the best way. In simple words Power Dressing means-Dressing smartly of the Job. So in this article I will be discussing few Tips of Power dressing for working women.

Why Is Power Dressing Important?

When dressing for a professional image, it is important to get first impressions right; whether it is for an interview, client meeting, networking event or conference, because it will reflect your professional skill set as well how much you care and respect of having the job or wanting the job as well the position you are holding at that company or an institute. So, when you are getting first impressions right professional people feel they can relate to you and feel more understood when associating with you. Simply, because they like what they see and therefore will trust you more easily and faster when working with you.

I guess, on any position you are dressing to have an impact on your bosses, staff, subordinates and teammates. If your clothes don’t convey the message that you are competent, able, ambitious, self-confident, trustworthy and authoritative, nothing you say or do will overcome the negative signals emanating from your attire.

Real Power

-Dr.harleen Kaur

Real Power Dressing: Create your signature look

Real power dressing is about standing out from the crowd, so that your professional look is current, and presents an image of effortlessness, freshness. The key word here is effortless!!!!!! No one should get the feeling that it takes you hours to get dressed. So that you don’t give anyone the impression that you’re wasting any valuable time. Time that could be better spent on work.  Be true to yourself – create your signature look.

Dr.Harleen Kaur in her Office

Why Women with authority need to apply a power dressing?

Women with authority need to apply a power dressing code, because it is their visual calling card. The power dressing code starts first of all to dress right for their body shape and body features. Secondly, women with need an outfit that they can rely on and feel comfortable and can focus on their job. Thirdly, the power dressing code needs to be appropriate for age and position as well looking current. Their professional image needs to convey an image of knowing yourself, being up to date with current affairs as well ready and prepared no matter what the day will bring.

What does Looking Current means?

Looking current, doesn’t mean buying constantly new outfits, but instead having a current hairdo, make up and accessorizing your outfit. Important is that your image shows that you put yourself together with care and respect. In the authority/ position it means that you put attention, care and respect into your professional image, which will translate that you will do the same effort towards your work, job and clients.

I personally feel, while at work  one should look in the moment, look current, but shouldn’t be too trendy and pompous”

-Dr.Harleen Kaur

Dressing right takes strategy. Try it.

If you want  your colleagues and a company to respect and invest in you, you have to make the first step. If you don’t invest in yourself and don’t show self respect why should they? Women with authority simply needs to invest in themselves by paying attention to themselves, finding their signature look, buying investment pieces for a staple wardrobe and looking prepared and in control no matter what the day will bring. Dressing right takes strategy. In order to look and feel good we simply can’t wear clothes based only on what we love!

  Dr. Harleen’s Power dressing code step by step:

According to me, The first step to power dressing is honest self-assessment by assessing your body shape and body features. It is all being honest with yourself, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses: the same rules as in business. Every woman has features, which are better than others – the skill is bringing the good ones into focus and distracting from the weaker ones. A woman with authority has to look her best and there is no excuse about it, because she has the means and resources to ask an expert. As she would do the same when it would be a business matter.

Power Dressing means different things for different women

Power Dressing means different things for different women – every woman is different in her needs, her build and her personality and therefore everyone needs to be evaluated in their own right. Important is that a woman with authority has a power wardrobe based on power outfits that she can rely on and feels comfortable in all day long no matter what the day will bring.

Dr.Harleen Kaur with The front Desk

Dress for the occasion.

I believe women with authority and power need to reflect their skill set in their outward appearance. Therefore clothes need to be smart and multi-tasking as you are for that job. If you work early morning or late nights, have internal as well as client meetings, need to travel by car, train and plane , your Clothes should be reflecting how prepared you are , they should also convey that you are “dressed” for the occasion.

Avoid being Unkempt:

There is nothing worse than wearing nice clothes and keeping them unkempt, Examples are the cashmere  stole you love being garnished with fluff or that jacket losing  few buttons and your shoes looking dirty which is a total turnoff! . The minute you look unkempt and untidy, people will associate your appearance with your state of mind, your work ethic and see it as disrespectful to your co-workers, companies and clients.

Don’t be a liability to the company.

Instead of being an asset you become a liability to the company. It is quite simple; look groomed and people will like being associated with you;  and if you don’t  people will keep their distance. If you give the impression you are someone who pays attention to details when you dress, it indicates you will do the same within your profession and give the little extra attention needed when the situation arises.

“Dress dingily people remember the clothes. Dress faultlessly; people remember the person “.

-Dr.Harleen Kaur
What did you have for lunch?

Well, practically this shouldn’t be an issue today, where everyone has the means to these washing facilities and beauty/hygiene products are available on anyone’s budget , So there’s just no excuse!

Bad breath which tells others “what was for lunch”, having greasy hair or having dandruff spread evenly all around your shoulders for everyone to notice but you; having skipped the shower in the morning, fingernails that keep evidence of where they have last been, underarm perspiration marks, body odor which hits all who comes within the vicinity….all these and similar cases are just a no way, no go.

Clean and fresh professional image .

If you “suffer” of any of the above – no matter how expensive your outfit is – you are on your own, lacking leadership and momentum, because you will be distracting everyone who works with you or for you with your personal hygiene issues, which makes it difficult to respect you and what you have to say. Keep in mind that a clean body image will result in a clean and fresh professional image .

Making your STYLE DNA

Once you have answered all these questions, you need to put all answers into context and it will give your very own dressing code based on your own STYLE DNA for a success power look for a woman with authority. Your STYLE DNA will give you your very own signature look that is complete unique and will make you stand out in business as one of a kind.

“Dress is your style from which people often judge upon the inward state of mind and feelings.”

-Dr.harleen Kaur
What Is “Dressing professionally in Education sector?”

As a person I feel everyone should dress well, as dressing well is a form of good manners. “The better you look, the better you feel. The better you feel, the better you work and better you work sooner you attain great heights.” And as a school head I keep counseling my staff to dress well as I believe that it will make them feel good and confident while facing the children and the students will be more respectful and serious towards them. Sometimes teachers just wear what they wear because it’s comfortable or just what they happen to own, but the fact is what you wear may impact you, your colleagues, and your students.

Give a Bounce

I think we all experience a bounce in our step when we wear new pair of shoes and we walk with a little more confidence. Same is with wearing a new dress. Appearance affects how we feel about ourselves. And if we feel good about ourselves, then that’s likely to trickle into how we think and act as a teacher throughout our day.

How an adult professional looks and behaves?

In addition to influencing us, our dress influences our students as well. Without a doubt, teachers are role models for their students, so when teachers dress professionally it sends important messages to students that I take my job seriously. We teach our students not just about the academic subject, but also how an adult professional looks and behaves. (ref: The teenager Today ) By dressing professionally for our students to see, we are giving them an implicit message about how we see ourselves and our task. The more professionally we dress, the more we tell our students they are important.

 “You can’t always verbally communicate. Everything you do makes some kind of statement.”

-Dr.harleen Kaur
  I take this seriously. I care about you.

The connection between our appearance and the significance of an occasion stands true in so many places. We wear  beautiful dresses and get a smart hairdo to weddings. We even dress up our gifts in fancy paper  to make it seem more special. Our character doesn’t change in these settings, but our appearance does, which communicates how we are assigning significance to any   profession.The degree of our professionalism when we dress at school sends the implicit message to students, “I take this seriously. I care about you.”And as our students will one day become professionals themselves, we are not only modeling for them the way a professional behaves, but also how one looks.

Dress for success

They say that we ought to “Dress for success,” but the success that we dress for is that of our students.I think we must consider factors ranging from “Formal  dress code policies, personal taste and preference, teaching assignment, community norms, individual income levels and even climate concerns.”. An administrator may need to appear more formal, an English teacher more professorial, and a  sports teacher ready to be on the move etc.

Dr.Harleen Kaur in her Office
Don’t settle for to look mediocre

When trying to identify what it is that you’d like to wear to dress professionally, one place to start is to consider the norms of the school environment, your personal budget and style, and what you know will make the best possible influence on your students. Ask yourself, “What will help me to look and feel professional?” Don’t settle for “What will make me look mediocre?”

Don’t be shopaholic.

Also, dressing professionally does not mean being shopaholic. Shop within your  budget and purchase clothing that will last. If you buy something new, spread out those new purchases and get only what you need. We don’t need to become fashion models for our students; we just need to communicate to them through our appearance that we care. So best is working out on your  dress and appearance which impacts both you and your students, and  you can think of any  changes to maximize the impact of the way you look.

Any institute for training the School Heads?

Teachers are trained to be Teachers but Principals are not trained to be Principals. This has been the core reason of most of the schools in India that they despite having excellent infrastructure and all sought after amenities, are still waiting for an Educational Leader who can take them to the peak of progress they are worthy of.

All  what I can say in the end In a word, that yes Power dressing is dressing in a commanding manner to create an air of authority around you which ever position you are on your subordinates. It automatically gives you confidence and demands respect from others. Common in both genders, dress in a formal attire and neat hair. Begin with a firm handshake, a stern voice and remain confident throughout. That’s the key.  So Goodluck!

-Dr.harleen Kaur
 The Celebrity Speaks:

I do believe in dressing appropriately for the position you work on or want to go to. It’s a fact people react better to people who are dressed well and carry themselves in a certain way. Sometimes cloths can help you gain the confidence and it’s also true that sometimes people  might be very confident but they are not able to make the same impact because they didn’t give much importance to how dress”. In Certain professions like the one I come from looking sharp is extremely important and what you wear helps immensely in looking in control and authoritative. 

I think we have come a long way from where Teachers only use to wear saris to look in control ( though nothing can beat sari it’s my favorite piece of attire) in education sector I think I would like to see Teachers wearing western wear and carrying themselves with equal authority and ease.

Poonam Sharma (Head, Media Guru Singapore pvt. Ltd)

To know about Dr.Harleen Kaur, Click the video

Dr. Harleen Kaur and her Smart MCI Staff at Different Occasions
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Tips of Power Dressing for Working Women : By Dr. Harleen Kaur
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On any position you are dressing to have an impact on your bosses, staff, subordinates and teammates. If your clothes don't convey the message that you are competent, able, ambitious, self-confident, trustworthy and authoritative, nothing you say or do will overcome the negative signals emanating from your attire.
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Dr.Harleen Kaur
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