Image Credits: Kelly In The City

When you usually consider ways to look polished and put together, your mind most likely immediately jumps to finding the perfect outfit. While these things are important, it is equally essential to make sure that the even the small details of your complete look are clean, polished, and effortlessly put together. Otherwise, your killer outfit is going to be overshadowed by these small faux-pas that can really kill your image.  Here are five details that will add the extra kick to your ensemble to ensure that you get that second call back, or an A on your presentation.

  1. Nails

No matter what you are preparing for, having well-kept and polished nails is so important for an overall complete look. Now, I’m not saying that you must go out every single week and have your nails professionally done. Take some time for yourself every so often and paint your nails a nice neutral color, so that they will go with any outfit. Fingers should also be well-kept and filed. Or, if you’re not a polish girl, be sure that your fingers are clean and buffed; no one likes looking at chipped or chewed nails.


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2) Mints

This is an essential for an interview for a job, or  a presentation to an important group of people. Brush your teeth before rushing out the door.  You’ll thank yourself later. Always have mints or gum in your bag can save you in a pinch.  It will cover up that Chipotle you had for lunch. I would suggest mints over gum.  You won’t find yourself chewing loudly.  You won’t have to worry about finding a garbage can to dispose of it before you’re called in.

3) Ironing

I’m sure you just internally groaned reading that, but it is an essential. You can find miniature steamers almost anywhere, even online. If you’re living in a dorm room or tight quarters, one of those can really save you. A professional outfit should be smooth and wrinkle-free. As much as you probably hate doing it, ironing or steaming your clothes will give off the impression that you definitely have your life together – even if you don’t.

4) Organize materials

There is nothing worse than realizing the moment before you begin a presentation that all your note cards are in the wrong order. If you know you are giving a speech or presentation, make sure your note cards are in number order. It also helps to clip them together beforehand.  It avoids the inevitable dropping of the cards and keeps them from going everywhere. If you are gearing up for an interview or first day at an internship, make sure you have everything you need and in an easily accessible place. If you need a copy of your resume, a cover letter or even letters of recommendation, make sure they are neat and organized.  Print everything out the night before, so you aren’t scrambling the morning of trying to get everything printed.

5) Dress appropriately

Your killer black tie gown might look amazing on you.  However, if you are going to a casual dinner party, you might want to leave the ball gown at home. Alternatively, you don’t want to show up for the first day on the job in jeans and a button down when the rest of the office is dressed business professional. Whatever you are preparing for, make sure to inquire about the dress code beforehand.  Also check to see if your boss has any preference as far as employee dress code goes. The company dress code may be business casual.  Your boss might prefer their department to be business professional.

It is always better to overdress than under dress.  A general rule of thumb is look to the most professionally dressed person in the office and model your outfit choices after them. Lastly, be careful of your footwear choices. Those amazing new heels that you got on sale might look awesome in your bedroom, but they might not be the best choice if you are running around the office all day. I’m all for wearing heels, but be mindful of the height and don’t go for anything too crazy.


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Navigating the professional world is tough, but once you’ve got the big obstacles out of the way, the small details are an easy fix to bring your overall appearance up a notch, and these tips will help you to stand out. Always remember, it’s all in the details.

Joleen T.
FFL Contributor