1. Authority and credibility—and possibly promotability—are the reward for always being well dressed. No matter how high or low you stand on the office food chain, a polished appearance counts.
2. Compliments are clues to your ideal style. If co-workers say, "That's a great color on you" or "Have you lost weight?" pay attention to what you're wearing and do it again. And again.
3. A casual or creative office isn't license to look sloppy. Although a matched suit is unnecessary, you want at least one element that's more structured or tailored, like a dress anchored by a jacket or a soft blouse with trousers.
4. Jackets are power tools—everyone knows they mean business—but more relaxed alternatives also work: a belted cardigan; a crisp shirt, with or without a vest; a cashmere twinset.
5. Signature accessories make others take notice. Collect something inexpensive and interesting—bold watches, colorful shoes, patterned scarves—and incorporate it into your everyday look.