Image consultants Joe Lupo and Jesse Garza are showing women how they can dress for success in their careers.
Their latest book, Work It!: Visual Therapy’s Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe, gives advice on how to create a work look for yourself that’s both chic and professional.
“Work It” profiles 20 real women of different ages and in careers varying from teachers to CFOs to work-from-home moms. Garza and Lupo establish a few polished career looks for each woman based on her personality, lifestyle and the persona she wants to project in her workplace. The idea is for readers to take inspiration from whatever style profile speaks to them.
Lupo maintains that this is not a one-size-fits-all process.
“We go from a single mom in the Bronx who works at a Jewish Community Center, and who doesn’t have dry cleaning in the budget, to a 40-year-old woman who’s staging a comeback as a mortgage broker.”
What’s your Worksonality?
To begin, the ladies took a series of quizzes that identified their color type, style type and “worksonality,” the meshing of what you want for yourself and what others perceive you to be. Then came the closet purge.
“We went through their closets and had them bring their ‘greatest hits’ to us,” Lupo explains. “Then we went out to the stores they shop at, on their budget, and filled in the gaps.”
The result is a collection of doable ideas for putting together outfits that can take you from a casual Friday to a client presentation to drinks with the boss.
Establish Your Brand
Lupo and Garza stress that this is about empowering women to find what works for them and expand their vision of what’s “appropriate” for their jobs.
“You can have a power look that’s a dress,” Garza says. “You don’t have to look like a man.”
Scattered throughout the book are more tips for shopping your own closet, traveling, fit charts, hair and makeup suggestions by beauty expert Darcy McGrath, and color and style quizzes.
“When you go to work, you represent a brand,” says Garza. “When you enter a room, you’re conveying a message. You don’t want that message to be concealed by a bad outfit.”
For a foolproof workplace solution, Jesse and Joe divide clothes into “cake”—the basics, also called a “Career Capsule”—and “icing”—the fun stuff. You can’t go wrong mixing and matching the pieces of cake; then add flavor by topping things off with the icing.
Here’s a list of what’s what:
Dress (it doesn’t have to be black, but it should fit you impeccably.)
Three comfortable knit tops that fit
White button-down shirt
Brown or black boots
Large work tote
Trendy leather jacket
Colorful patterned scarf or wrap
Bold cocktail ring