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Styling for Transitioning from Military to Civilian Career

8 min read
Beverly Chang
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“When I transitioned out of the military, I didn’t even know where to begin with my style, especially transitioning into a civilian working environment. At Style Space, I worked with a makeup, clothing and hair stylist who gave me the tools and education to dress confidently for my post-military career. I now realize style is a necessary life skill anyone can learn, especially with professional guidance. I now show up with a new found confidence at work and in my personal life.” ~ Crystal, Army Veteran
Leaving the military and stepping into the civilian workforce can be a significant transition for any service members. Beyond the challenges of finding a new job and adapting to a different work culture, there's another aspect that often gets overlooked: personal presentation and style. How you present yourself can significantly impact your success in the civilian world. That's where styling advice comes into play.
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Why Does Styling Matter?
While military uniforms speak volumes, your civilian attire has its own language. The way you dress reveals your personality, interests, and professional aspirations. Just as a service member’s uniform tells their story, your clothing choices craft your civilian narrative. As a civilian, you have greater freedom for personal expression through clothing choices. Forbes reports that it takes 7 seconds for you to make a first impression. So whether you're interviewing, networking, or simply interacting at work, curate your style to make a positive and lasting impact. Invest in your personal style and watch how it transforms the way the world perceives you.
Understanding the Culture
One of the first steps in transitioning your style from military to civilian is understanding the culture of your desired industry or workplace. Different industries have different expectations when it comes to dress code and professional attire. For example, the dress code in a corporate office may be vastly different from that of a creative agency or a tech startup. Researching the company's culture and observing how employees dress can give you valuable insight. Read more about the 6 workplace dress codes.
Building a Versatile Wardrobe
As you transition into civilian life, it's essential to build a versatile wardrobe that can adapt to various professional settings. Invest in timeless, well-fitting pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. For men, staples like tailored suit coats, trousers, dress shirts, business casual shirts, and dress shoes are essential, while women can benefit from a curated selection of pants, blazers, skirts, and blouses—a capsule wardrobe could be a good first step to achieve this. The key takeaway is that both men and women can leverage clothing to make a positive professional impression, with formal and business casual options catering to different work environments. Read more about the 11 essential items every well rounded wardrobe needs.
Confidence Is Key
Above all, remember that confidence is key when it comes to personal presentation. As you navigate the transition, embrace the opportunity to express yourself through your style while staying true to your professional goals. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that the clothes we wear can directly influence our confidence and performance. By investing time and effort into your appearance, you'll not only look the part but also feel more confident in your abilities as you embark on this new chapter in your career.
Seeking Professional Advice
If you're unsure about what to wear or how to style yourself for a civilian career, consider booking a virtual and convenient styling session with one of our expert stylists. Our friendly, and professional stylists can advise you on clothing, hair, or makeup.
Embrace the opportunity to express your individuality while showcasing your professionalism, and watch as your style helps you feel confident as you succeed in your civilian career.
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