Happy Monday, ladies. Let’s kickstart the week with another installment of business advice. Today, we are diving into an issue that is critical for women in business. The “what to wear to work” dilemma is one many of us business women face. How we handle this will impact how others view us. Here are few tips to help you slay at the work place:
- Do be authentic to yourself.
I am not a believer that you must dress to conform in an office space. I am a believer that you should dress in a relatively modest, office-appropriate manner. But within those guidelines, you do you!
If you prefer color, then wear color. If you prefer heels, then wear heels. If you like to wear a bold lipstick, then just keep the rest of your makeup fairly natural. Just balance statement pieces with more conservative, neutral pieces. Everything in moderation.
2. Do invest in quality, staple pieces.
As a business woman, you likely are smart with how you spend your money. There are certainly ways to penny pinch, but your business wardrobe is not one of them. Though the cost may seem like a lot up front, in reality you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. If the item is high-quality, you’ll be able to wear it many times over many years, making the cost per wear low.
Think quality over quantity. When shopping, pay attention to the materials and craftsmanship of the garments you purchase. Then once you buy quality items, take proper care of them. Have them tailored, have them professionally cleaned regularly as needed, hang them on velvet hangers (just say no to wire hangers!), take your shoes to a cobbler when they need to be polished or resoled. Basic care will go a long way in extending the life of your clothes and shoes!
- Don’t show too much skin.
I suggest being cognizant of this in two particular ways.
(1) Pay attention to your skirt or dress length.
The right length is critical! Dresses and skirts should at least graze the top of your knee. Keep in mind that when you sit in a chair, your dress or skirt will automatically rise up some, making it seem shorter. Be aware of any slits your clothing might have as well. Never choose pieces with super high slits.
(2) Don’t show cleavage. It’s just not appropriate. Along those lines, make sure tops are not at all see-through. And make certain that undergarments are not visible.
- Don’t overdo your makeup.
Like most of these tips (and most things in life!), moderation is key. If you like a bold lip, feel free to go for it. But keep everything else very natural. Avoid overly dramatizing yourself with things like false eyelashes, smoky eyeshadow, or an abundance of bronzer. Use your makeup to enhance your natural look.
- Don’t over accessorize.
Less is more. And again, moderation is key. Accessories can make or break an outfit. They tend to be a focal point, so make it a good one. Choose a high quality handbag or briefcase. Instead of piling on the jewelry, choose something classic like a nice set of pearl earrings or a simple necklace.
Stay well away from any big pieces or costume jewellery. Keep things like earrings, bracelets and rings small and conservative. Also, any necklaces you wear should be well away from cleavage, your goal in an office is to not draw the eye at all.
When in doubt, follow the KISS principle –keep it simple, smarty!
- Do think about color.
Certainly around here, we believe in the power of color, as you know! So, while we are all for wearing color in the office, consider the psychology of color when choosing what color to wear. For instance, red is a powerful color, but can also be seen as aggressive. So, consider what’s on your agenda as you dress for the day.
Again, always remember that your style is simply another way to convey your overall message at work. Be intentional with how and what you convey.
- Don’t be too trendy.
Unless you work in fashion, the office place is likely not the place to experiment with the latest runway trends.
You want to exude an air of classiness, elegance, and power. If you are overly trendy, your look can steal the show. You want your appearance to amplify your message of professionalism, not drown it out.
There is nothing wrong with incorporating a trend in a small way. Just don’t let it steal your spotlight!
You can never go wrong with a simple pair of sling-back black heels. They’re renowned as a “wear-with-anything” choice of shoe and they will honestly work with whatever you go with. To capitalize on them and look even more professional, why not pair them up with a pinstripe skirt or black pant-suit if you’re aiming for wearing a full suit around the office.
Most importantly, make sure to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Let that sink in. You’ve heard the phrase “put your best foot forward”. The onus is on us to present ourselves as professional, respectable, and powerful. Whether we like it or not, appearances do matter. They are the first impression people get of us, so let’s craft our appearance to give off the right impression. Think of how you dress as an aspect of personal branding.
by: Carrie Colbert