Podcast Episode 26: Dress for Success

Dressing for success is a key component to getting your career moving in the right direction. DHG’s Alice Grey Harrison, Director of Corporate Communications and Travis Wilson, Director of Talent Acquisition, share several tips and resources in this podcast episode.  This dynamic duo is an audience favorite at DHG’s intern training where they host a “talk show” all about fashion and office etiquette.

Episode 26 Transcript: Alice Grey Harrison and Travis Wilson

AGH: Welcome to the DHG Podcast series about our Life Beyond Numbers with a focus on people, flexibility, and careers. And today, I’m excited to have with me Travis Wilson, who is head of talent acquisition here at DHG and my good friend and partner in crime on Dress for Success. We are actually in Charlotte for DHG Launch, our intern training, and are doing a session on dressing for success and want to share a couple of our tips and tricks with you all. Welcome Travis.

TW: Thanks AG, happy to be here.

AGH: Okay, so I’m going to go first and give my top five takeaways. So for me, black is always classic and regardless of whether you pay $200 for a black dress or $19.95 at Target, black is always classic and chic. You can go with a less expensive fabric if you go with black. Pair it with pearls, keep it simple and you look great. Pinterest is a great place to explore your own style. A few years ago when I was 35 — oh gosh I just told my age. I mean 25! I created a style board on my Pinterest site and pinned different outfits that I thought looked like the image that I wanted to portray and it really helped me figure out what my own personal style was. So I really suggest Pinterest. Regardless of what you’re wearing at work, always have a suit jacket or a formal cardigan with you so that you are always ready to go into a client meeting if a partner ask you to join. Use coupons. We don’t have to spend a fortune on clothes in today’s time and if you just do a quick search on your cellphone or on your computer before you head out shopping, if you know the store you’re going to, you can easily, on any given day, find coupons for 10 to 20% off. And someone recently told me about an app called Shopkick, and this app is a little weird, so you may not find this to be comforting. But if you have this app it would track what stores you go in and out of and if you go in a certain number of times, they’ll automatically send you a gift card. A friend of mine at work just got a gift card for $25 to Target just because she shops there on a regular basis. And then my final piece would be casual Friday or Jeans Friday. Just because it says “casual” or just because it says it’s okay for you to wear jeans that does not mean “Sloppy Friday”. That means you still should look professional, consider pairing your jeans or your casual slacks with a blazer, or your skirt with a blazer. Just try to keep it classy and keep yourself ready to meet a client if a client comes in the office. So those are my top five. Travis?

TW: Those are fantastic. I’m going to keep it a little bit more detailed in some of my five tips. I see how you tied in everything to casual Fridays. For me, you mentioned having a jacket; I would also, for the gentleman out there, I’d say have a tie available as well. Maybe a solid color that will go with anything, especially if it’s a Friday. I think it’s important that you have a good pair of shoes and I would even recommend that you’re getting your shoes shined at least every two to three weeks.

AGH: We talked about this earlier today in our presentation, having a good pair of shoes doesn’t mean you have to spend $500 on them.

TW: Not at all, I think the pair that I have on right now I got at Off Broadway, they’re Cole Haan and I spent about $100 on them, so yeah.

AGH: Wow.

TW: That’s a great transition to my next point — make sure the color of your belt matches the color of your shoes. It’s a subtle detail but I think one that really pulls together your outfit. V neck t-shirts; you might say, “Well, you can’t wear V necks to the office.” But you actually can if you’re wearing one as an undershirt. I think it’s important to have a V neck versus a crew neck shirt so that if you are wearing a button down and you don’t have a tie on that you don’t see the t-shirt underneath your dress shirt. I think that just adds a little bit more class to the outfit.

AGH: Absolutely.

TW: And then this might seem really detailed for all the gentleman out there that maybe haven’t thought of it or haven’t been introduced to it, it wasn’t really introduced to me until my late 20’s, but collar stays. Every dress shirt has a little pocket up under each corner of your collar to put these little inserts.

AGH: They’re little plastic inserts, most of the time.

TW: Exactly — that keep your collar nice and straight, which also keeps that very clean and professional look. I have tried all different types of collar stays. The ones I get are plastic and they’re a little bit thicker than the normal plastic, which really helps. And then when it comes to getting your shirts or any of your, I would say clothes starched, when you go to the cleaners don’t always think that you have to go medium starch or heavy starch. Actually a good friend of mine who specializes in professional clothing actually recommended that I do no starch. If I’m going to do any starch, do light because there’s already so much starch left in the machine from the person’s clothes that they did before you and I’ve seen it still it gives me a very crisp feel on my clothes.

AGH: It probably saves your clothes from yellowing because the more starch you use…

TW: It also — his main reason why he pointed that out to me is that it helps your clothes last that much longer. They won’t fray or come apart.

AGH: Absolutely.

TW: So yeah, just a few things there.

AGH: Great tips. Well, we hope you enjoyed this episode and we appreciate you tuning into our Life at DHG podcast series. If you like what you just heard, tune in for future episodes and be sure to visit our blog with more great stories about our Life Beyond Numbers.

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