Willimantic, Conn. – Trish Eigenbrode, fashion style consultant with Debbie Wright’s Project Closet, spoke with Eastern Connecticut State University students on March 3 about how to dress professionally—and fashionably—on a budget. The event, titled “Dress for Success,” emphasized the importance of image and dressing appropriately in the workplace.
Eigenbrode started off with a few fashion-supporting statistics. “First impressions are formed within 20 seconds, and once formed they are hard to change,” she said. “Only about seven percent of what we think of people is based on what they say. Dressing well establishes credibility.”
A self-proclaimed “fashionista” with years of experience in corporate America, Eigenbrode explained a number of fashion dos and don’ts to the Student Center Theatre audience of female and male students. “Focus on fit not size,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what the tag says, but that the outfit fits your body well.”
Regarding women, Eigenbrode said that accessories should be kept simple and perfume minimally applied. For women and men alike, she said cleavage should be covered up—suggesting that men and women can form an especially undesirable type of cleavage if the lower back or upper buttocks are not fully covered.
According to Eigenbrode, many professionals have become too liberal with dressing “business casual.” Rather than dressing casual, she says professionals should dress “business smart.” She assured students that dressing for the professional world does not need to be boring. “Dress creatively. It’s okay to mix colors, textures and patterns. Just be smart when personalizing.”
Eigenbrode concluded the presentation with an outfit-making demonstration, where she made 40 outfits out of 12 articles of clothing. “You can dress professionally and fashionably without spending a lot of money,” she said. Her final words of advice were that one should never pay full price and that everyone should shop at a number of stores, including thrift and consignment shops, to find a variety of styles and sales.