By Kathryn-Claire Watts on 11/21/2011
By Kathryn-Claire Watts
Senior majoring in communications
Lipscomb University’s colleges of arts and sciences and business hosted the first-ever professional women’s event Monday, Nov. 14, titled “How to Project a Professional Image.”
The event, held in Shamblin Theatre, offered female students the chance to network with Lipscomb alumna and other business leaders around the community. Mila Grigg, owner of Moda Image Consulting located in Nashville’s Green Hills area, gave a keynote address. Afterwards, female students modeled some of the latest fashions in professional wear from Dillards department store.
Grigg spoke to the audience about the importance of a woman’s appearance in her professional life and, even more importantly, about the first impression she makes on a future employer.
“In the world of instant destruction and instant reward, it’s about being the best you can be to the potential employer,” said Grigg. “We are first seen, not heard, so as silly as it may sound, what you look like is crucial. The key to finding what fits you best is finding your personal brand and taking the responsibility to emanate what’s on the inside.”
Grigg also talked about personal success and how when a professional woman dresses well, she feels good, and when she feels good, she produces well. It is also possible to inspire others by dressing to a level of success, she said.
The main focus of the night was to encourage students to dress the part when interviewing for internships or jobs for the first time.
“Your clothes say, ‘What you see, is what you get.’ If you can look the part, the interviewers will say, ‘She’s probably capable of what she looks like,’” Grigg said.
Grigg mentioned that one of the top complaints she hears from employers is about modesty, more specifically cleavage (she mentioned doing a “bend” test while getting ready in the morning to test appropriate coverage). She encourages those she consults to portray what they believe in on the outside as well, saying that strong faith and character on the inside should be represented by integrity on the outside. Internal beauty, faith and purpose should be reflected on the outside as well.
For those worried about the cost of having a great workplace wardrobe, Grigg advised attendees to know their brands and know what works well for them so money is not wasted on pieces that make them feel uncomfortable.
And for those worried about being confined to stuffy work wear, she recommends the “mullet theory” which she defined as a business in the front and party in the back model, where classic pieces are paired with a fun, eye-popping piece that creates a stand-out outfit. She also advised students to reflect the company’s personality as well because they want to know a prospective employee will fit into the company.
The most fitting quote of the night, however, was from fashion design legend Coco Chanel, who said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”