It’s “back to school” season for so many of you. I know that a lot of states have already started classes at universities and local schools. Here in Minnesota, our kids don’t return to public schools until the day after Labor Day. We have one of the nation’s largest state fairs and quite frankly, they need the kids to work the fair. We also are known as “Minnesota Land of 10,000 Lakes.” We have a ton of resorts and lake cabins. Most weekends Minnesotans can be found “going up north.” Many students work at these resorts in the restaurants, on golf courses, in kids programs, at the beach, etc. These are two of the biggest reasons we start school after the big Labor Day weekend.
But what does back to school mean to you? Does it mean back-to-school clothes shopping? Does it mean time for kid haircuts for school pictures and IDs? Does it mean purchasing new school supplies? Does it mean you’ll be back on a regular schedule? All of these things come up for parents; they have to prepare their kids for the school year. This is also a good time to think of your schedule and start making a “back to work” plan for yourself. Let’s think about back to school and how it may apply to our work.
Back to school usually means new clothes, right? Do you remember how great you felt in your first-day-of-school outfit? Do you remember how your parents made you stand in front of your house or school and took your picture to remember the day. We were so excited, weren’t we? We couldn’t wait to get to school and show off our new outfit. Do you feel that way about your work clothes? When was the last time you felt great about how you were dressed? Are you excited about the clothes you wear to work? When was the last time you updated your wardrobe? During the fall, you can find some of the best deals on pants, shirts, and shoes. It may be time to not only shop for the kids but to also update yourself.
Many salons have dress codes and guidelines. One of the easiest rules we have at our salon is we don’t allow the “4 B’s: No Butts, No Boobs, No Backs and No Bellies” to be seen. That sounds pretty easy, right? This helps us to remember to cover up. We don’t believe it’s professional at our salon to see your underwear when bending over shampooing or cleaning out a pedicure tub. We also have a black, white, and gray dress code. You can accessorize with color scarves, shoes, and layered tanks tops, etc. Just because there is a dress code doesn’t mean you have to dress boringly either. Show a little personality; be creative with the dress code rules and look professional.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to look good either. First start by going through your closet — that’s right I said go through your closet. When was the last time you cleaned it out and made a donation to your local thrift store? Cleaning out your closet will help you realize what you already have. Who knows you may find something you forgot about. Sometimes we tend to wear the same few shirts and pants over and over again. Branch out to a different section of your closet. I tell my employees when you go out with friends you purchase certain clothes for that event. When you go to a wedding or church you buy clothes that look dressed up. Well, you have to buy certain clothes for work too. You can usually update the pieces you currently have with a few new items. Hint: Black pants are a classic wardrobe piece. They look good on everybody; they’re always in style and can make everyone look slimmer.
Here are some guidelines for dressing professional:
> Be comfortable: Make sure that your skirt, shirt or pants will move with you and the services you provide. Nobody wants to have a wardrobe malfunction. You may prefer 3/4-length sleeves so you don’t keep rolling your sleeves up or get lotion on them.
> Press your garments for work: Picking clothes out of a hamper or off your bedroom floor doesn’t help you to look clean and polished. If you hate ironing, don’t buy clothes that require ironing. An easier way to get it done is to just get them dry cleaned.
> Show your personality: Add pops of color or a piece of jewelry to make your look interesting.
> Dress for the season or the salon climate: It’s hard to be comfortable when you’re roasting in a big heavy sweater. If capri pants are appropriate in your salon, wear them for a seasonal look. I’m not saying just because it’s the holidays you should wear your ugly Christmas sweater, just dress appropriately for the season.
> Follow fashion trends: The salon industry is a fashion-forward industry; look like a part of it. This doesn’t mean you have to wear the latest runway fashions, just be in style and aware of the current trends.
> Dress age appropriate: Don’t try to squeeze yourself into something that makes you look like you are desperately trying to regain your youth. Just because you’re not 21 doesn’t mean you have to dress like an old lady either. Dress comfortably, professionally, and trendy. Look refined.
> Dress for your body: Find out what styles look best on your body type. The trend maybe a shorter skirt, but it may not look good on your body. Find a length that fits your dress code and flatters your figure. We are all not a perfect size 2, but you can still look like a million dollars with the right fitting clothes.
> Wear comfortable shoes: Sometimes the salon floor can be slippery and you don’t want to wipe out. If you walk or stand on your feet a lot you may not make it through the day.
Be honest with yourself and try stuff on and yes then look a mirror. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Professional clothes can be fitted, just not skin-tight where you can see everything! You’ll make more room in your closet and feel better about getting rid of those “fat pants” or the “high school jeans” you’re going to get back into.
It’s not just about the kids going back to school make it about you too. Update your clothes as you update their wardrobe. Remember when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you feel confident and sure about yourself! One more way to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!
Check back next week for more on this “back-to-work” series.