Leanna Grierson.

My name is Leanna Grierson, and I’m currently a 21-year-old BComm student at the University of Victoria. I was born and raised in Calgary, AB. The city is also where I started in the professional world at Corex Resources Ltd., an oil and gas company downtown.

Breakfast at Bankers

Stepping into the hustle and bustle of life in downtown Calgary never fails to be exciting. In my lifetime, it’s been the only place where at 7am you can submerse yourself in a backdrop of men and women dressed fully in business wear, scurrying across the downtown to get their morning Starbucks.

[ FITDEETS |Blazer & Skirt: Wilfred by Aritzia. | Blouse: BCBG.| Bag: Marc Jacobs.]

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Calgary is a pretty big city, but it’s amazing how a city shrinks when you step into the business world. The number of personal and professional connections that I’ve witnessed in my three summers of working downtown is phenomenal. While in the world there may be six degrees of separation, my experience working downtown leads me to believe it’s more like one or two. Almost everyone you know, knows someone else you know. And if they don’t, chances are they know someone who knows that person you were talking about… Its kind of nuts.

Based on my experience downtown, the most important lesson I have learned is the value of leaving a strong first impression. Whether it’s a meeting you’ve scheduled with the CEO of your dream company, or you’re simply saying a few words to the lady behind you in line at Starbucks, you never know who will be a valuable connection for you in the future. And in the business world, connections are KEY.

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There are two main fashion points this concept has really enforced for me:

1) Your outfit is a key component in making a first impression, because it reflects how you present yourself in a professional setting. A woman who is organized, collected and professional will be taken more seriously and represent herself more accurately in a power suit than in jeans and a messy bun. This may seem obvious, but it’s crucial part of making a strong first impression because the presentation simply reinforces the skills she possesses.

2) Confidence is key. And while some it’s true that some are simply born with it, most of us wouldn’t mind an extra dose just before a big interview or networking opportunity. How you present yourself reflects your level of confidence, and while this may come across in a variety of ways, having an outfit that makes you feel great is a wonderful way to start. Moreover, fashion doesn’t just affect how you look, it can also influence how you feel. It is my belief that embracing this can help you not only look the part, but feel confident in the professional role you are given or are striving to achieve. Think about the last time you slipped out of your BCBG dress and into an old pair of sweatpants. Feel any different? If you’re anything like me, then definitely!

The outfit I chose is just one example of a look that provides me with confidence and makes me feel professional. I love that it’s a bit of a younger, modern twist on the everyday skirt, blouse and blazer. I think the colour is fun and exciting, yet professional. As a student just about to finish up my degree, this represents the impression I’d like to make while networking: Classic, professional and put together, but still young and fresh! :p

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With regard to picking outfits, there’s just their tips that I’ve come across over the years:

• Don’t be afraid to try the outlet store…first! You may have to spend a bit more time sorting through the clothes, but the number of times I’ve made a purchase only to find it on sale a few weeks later is ridiculous. If you like it at full price, I bet you would LOVE it at half price. (And really…who needs to know the difference?)

• Like every decision you make in the business world, your wardrobe is an investment. It’s an investment of the amount of time it took you to pick it out, the price divided by the number of wears. But you’ve also got to factor in the amount of confidence it gives you.

That’s about it girls. Happy networking!

Connect with Leanna: Linkedin. 

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