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Dress for Success

By Mark Weber

The author of Dress Casually for Success talks about work wear.

From dressing down to an interview, what you wear makes a definite impression.

On suits
There is nothing more fashionable or professional-looking than a navy blue suit. If you really want to look like you've got your act together, most people look good in a navy suit. Then you can choose what kind of statement you want to make with your accessories.

On dressing down
If you decide to dress casually, it's still important to put some thought into what you wear. The first rule is to remember that you are dressing for business and not for the weekend. You need to be well groomed and clean and neat, and whatever you wear, your clothes should not stand out too much. A subtle look says that you understand what fashion is all about, and lets you provide the excitement.

On dressing for an interview
At one time, it was safe to say that traditional business-wear was the standard uniform for an interview, but that's not necessarily the case anymore. It all depends on where you want to work. For example, if you are interviewing at an Internet company with an informal dress code, going in with a suit and tie may send the wrong signal. Along the same lines, if you want to work for an advertising agency that is looking for young, fresh-thinking, creative people, a traditional business suit and tie might not be the best way to dress.

On color
If you are going to buy a suit, focus on solid colors (navy, black, gray, taupe) so that you can expand your outfits through a limited budget by spending more on accessories. There are always "hot" colors out there, but if you wear a really bright suit, people are going to notice--every time you wear it.

On ties
I don't believe in ties that have messages or fancy logos and the like. In Weber's world, there is no burgundy--other than the wine. I would outlaw it. But for neckwear, I make an exception. A burgundy tie with a nice print or a woven pattern can look great with a navy suit.

On his personal wardrobe
At any given time, I have about 20 active navy suits, 10 single- and 10 double-breasted, in slightly different weights for different seasons. I have mostly white shirts and all my shoes are identical. All I have to think about in the morning is what number I wore the day before, and change the shirt and tie. I took it to a new level because I didn't want to worry about what to wear to work on a given day--I have too much on my mind.

The fundamentals
You have to be comfortable--not just in fit, but in your head as well. Above all, you want to feel good. I believe that the most important message you send comes from your overall appearance and you as a person, not necessarily from your clothes. Let the clothes accessorize you, not the other way around.

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