Amanda Gabriela Beltran
Six women of La Verne took to the runway at the Womyn’s Herstory Business Attire Fashion Show Wednesday evening in the Campus Center Ballroom to display chic and professional outfits that will leave a good impression on future employers.
The presentation, sponsored by the Center of Multicultural Services and Career Services, focused on four categories: business interview, business casual, business professional, and business formal dress attire.
Freshman business major Naomi Nyarko facilitated the event along with a representative from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
“You can see the fashion and you can be bold, and you can show color, and patterns, but be professional at the same time,” Nyarko said.
FIDM college representative Patty Phelps gave the rundown on the do’s of interviewing and working in a professional environment, emphasizing the importance of the first impression.
“You only really get three to five seconds to make that first impression, so we want to make it very professional,” Phelps said.
Knowing how to dress, along with what to do and how to act are important.
“Knowing how to use proper body language which includes our eye contact, clothing and our posture (are) all the things that come together to make that professional package,” Phelps said.
After the models walked the runway for each category, Nyarko went over each outfit and explained why it was appropriate.
One outfit included a white blouse with a black blazer, paired with black slacks, and black flats to finish off the professional outfit.
“Our model is wearing a simple, yet good look for any professional interview,” Nyarko said.
Phelps said that researching and understanding the culture of a company is important.
Even if the culture is laid-back, it is better to save the casual wear until after the job is landed.
“That’s partly why we dress for an interview differently, you want to know what to wear to an interview to make a really professional statement,” Phelps said.
Phelps said following basic guidelines about hair and the tightness and femininity of clothing can show a woman’s understanding of presenting herself professionally.
Wearing inappropriate clothes or elaborate jewelry can distract the employer, and he or she may not hear something important that was said.
“Generally, you wouldn’t want to wear ruffles or lace, and you wouldn’t want to wear floral prints because those are (too) feminine,” Phelps said.
“We don’t want to be remembered as the girl who wore the swirly pink dress. We want to be remembered as the girl who had an amazing … interview.”
In a business casual setting, attire is a bit more relaxed through subtle accents such as jewelry, patterns, and hair.
Some companies might have the casual culture where this is appropriate, or even casual Fridays.
“Don’t be afraid to explore with patterns as long as it is seen as professional, since this is a casual setting, Amelia has taken out her bobby pins and is wearing her hair completely down,” Nyarko said.
Phelps said once the position is landed, the next step is getting the promotion.
“One of the things that can be really important is paying attention to what the people are wearing that are above you,” Phelps said.
She said the people that you work with are the most important people to help get you promoted in a company.
“We’re always trying to make that really good impression even if we’ve been there,” Phelps said.
In a professional company, there may be occasions where dressing formal is appropriate, however staying professional is at the forefront.
An example Nyarko gave was dinner with the boss where the job setting was extremely formal.
“She has chosen a classy black dress with her hair let down, and the same tan pumps,” Nyarko said.
“As we noticed before, Tanya’s job setting is really professional so she wanted to keep it conservative.”
Phelps said the rule of thumb for the evening is dressing a bit more elegant, but still subtle.
An appropriate slit and slightly shorter dresses are easier to get away with in this setting.
“If you are in doubt you can always add stockings, like a black stocking,” Phelps said.
Senior sociology major Andrea Dukes walked in the fashion show and said she learned a lot throughout the process all while having fun.
“Colleges are supposed to help us progress into our professional jobs and careers,” Dukes said.
“This is something you need to know that no one is really going to talk to you about,” Dukes said.
Dukes said when she thinks of business attire, she thinks of wearing something she won’t necessarily like, but will have to wear anyways.
She said she learned the importance of having this knowledge as a woman in order to be successful professionally since women are held to a very high beauty standard.
Amanda Gabriela Beltran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.