Power dress to impress at your work

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t's a hot topic of discussion around the water cooler, during your coffee break, in the elevator and every other realm beyond the purview of the boss's keen eye. Who is getting that raise and promotion? No prizes for guessing that performing well in your appraisal is topmost on your mind! When your every move and word is closely monitored, the terms 'assessment', 'evaluation' and 'review' assume a heightened meaning. And when it is a photo finish between teammates, any amount of sloppiness could have your coworker nosing ahead of you! Thus, it is vital to properly strategise for your own 'visual presentation', ie your appearance. Here's how you can prepare.

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rush up on your grooming technique.

~ For men i. Get a new haircut. ii. Get a manicure, pedicure and face cleaning. iii. It is not essential to have a crew cut on the job. But men with longer hair should opt for a slick, gelled-back look. This gives the impression of being freshly showered. iv. For a quick change in the way you look, consider re-styling your facial hair. ~ For women i. For the ladies, even a good hair trim and regular face cleaning/ buffing should do. ii. According to hairstylist Jawed Habib, "Curls are very much in for women, but these work best for the office if worn tied back or short." iii. If you want a quick change in look, try parting or tying your hair differently.

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et yourself a signature colour.

Haven't got one already? Determine your signature palette now! Colour can go a long way in giving you an identity at work. ~ For men

For instance, 24-year old Altaf, an executive with an international travel corporation, swears by white because it has a definite professional air about it. He combines a crisp, white shirt with beige or dove grey pants and a yellow or light blue tie. i. It is a good idea to go beyond blues, greys, blacks and whites and experiment with colour. Make sure, though, that you can carry it off without getting self-concious. For the stylish man, baby pink is the new white. ~ For women i. All pastel shades and medium tones -- like mustard, turquoise blue, deep pink and olive -- are acceptable. Only try striking colours like reds and black if you are comfortable. ii. Figure out whether you prefer 'cool' or 'warm' colours and build your wardrobe accordingly. Blues, greens and purple fall under cool colours. Reds, yellows and browns are warm colours.

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os and don'ts for men!

i. Ties and scarves should only be in silk, never polyester. ii. Keep belt buckles plain, even staid. iii. Belts, bags and shoes, socks and trousers need to match across the board! iv. Besides the shoe body, make sure the edges are polished, too, as these turn white over time. v. Slim fitting trousers are appropriate coordinates. Siddharth, 26, a software consultant with a leading technology corporation, swears by single pleated, flat front trousers, as these have a slim cut and less bulk. They fall well with turned up hems. Back pockets without flaps are ideal. vi. Avoid stretch fabrics if possible and capris.

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os and don'ts for women.

i. Avoid translucent fabrics for tops, and low-neck or tight-fitting blouses. ii. Cotton or cotten blend shirts work best. iii. Go for stripes, checks and subtle prints.

iv. Opt for slim-fitting trousers or long, slim pencil skirts as coordinates. v. Skirts can have either a modest side or back slit. vi Avoid wearing capris, stretch fabrics and short skirts

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he finishing touches for women.

i. When it comes to jewellery, make sure you do not mix metals. When wearing gold, wear all gold. When wearing silver or platinum, wear all silver/ platinum. Keep jewellery simple and coordinated in design. A chain with a pendant, matching earrings and a bracelet will make you sparkle. ii. Wear a subtle perfume or cologne that suits your personality. iii. Try not to carry your entire world with you in an oversized bag. Invest in medium-sized leather handbags in black, brown and beige to get to the boardroom. iii. High heels are super so long as you can carry yourself well in them. I recommend heels up to an inch or an inch-and-a-half, no more. Now that you are good to go, good luck on your way up!

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he finishing touches for men.

i. Neckties are best worn either solid or patterned with dots or stripes. Keep the stripes simple, narrow and wide-spaced. Learn how to tie the knot properly. Avoid skinny or overtly wide knots. ii. Avoid chunky wallets in your hip pocket -- they look tacky. Not the ideal way to impress the boss with your contacts. iii. Wear a subtle perfume or cologne that suits your persona and doesn't announce your arrival from across the room. iv. If need be, carry a sleek, leather messenger bag in black or dark brown, as opposed to the backpack, boys. v. As mentioned before, formal lace-up shoes will take you up the ladder quicker.

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ress for the part.

i. The old saying that one should dress as per the rank one aspires to, is not unfounded. However this doesn't entail aping the boss or senior's style! ii. Create a distinctive look for yourself, keeping in mind that the effect should be simple but classy. For instance, make a fine statement with a shirt with a cutaway collar or a blue-striped shirt with a white collar and cuff. iii. If you like tailored shirts, add a pair of elegant silver square or rectangular cufflinks on turned-up cuffs. iv. Being meticulous in your attire speaks of self-respect and one who pays attention to details.

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