The golden question when dressing for the world of business is: What exactly is considered appropriate or each situation? There is a gray area surrounding business casual in today’s society, and I have decided to research the topic. From my research on the internet, every fashion article about dressing professional included neutral tones and pant suits, but what is the fun in that? Dressing professionally doesn’t mean that you can’t be fashionable. There are a few simple tips and tricks for dressing work appropriate while showing off individual spunk.
In all areas of professionalism, attitude is at the core, but when you dress your best, you act your best. Respect yourself with the way you dress, and you will realize that your overall attitude will skyrocket to a new level. I feel best when I’m rocking a killer pair of stilettos and a funky dress, but I also realize that is not necessarily acceptable on a Monday morning in the office.
Disclaimer #1: You don’t have to succumb to matching pantsuits and be the ‘Hillary Clinton’ of the office, but also don’t rock that Friday night dress and be named the ‘Monica Lewinsky’. Find a balance between your favorite club dress and interview blazer. Here is a question to ponder while dressing for your next professional event: If I were a CEO, would I want to hire myself to represent this company? Remember, style may be in the eye of the beholder, but your paycheck is in the hands of your boss.
Disclaimer #2: Just because you put a blazer on, doesn’t make it professional. Some might take that Friday night body con skirt, throw a blazer on over and think it’s OK it is never OK . Weekend wear should never make an appearance in the office.
Now that we have the basics covered, here are four simple rules to follow:
1. Keep it covered
No matter what your style is business casual never, ever means business sexy. The sexiest thing you can wear to the office is your confidence. When you dress your best, you feel your best, and that will come across in your work ethics and actions. Although clothes seem to get skimpier and skimpier through the years, longer is always better. A good rule is four fingers above the knee. The more modest you dress, the more you will be taken seriously by your co-workers. This means no strappy Vegas heels, short skirts or revealing tops or bare shoulders.
2. Keep it simple
When it doubt, emphasize neutrals; like stated before, neutrals are preferred in the work place but are not necessary. Don’t be afraid to wear bold colors, but keep it simple. Use neutrals to tone down outfits. Wear clean silhouettes and narrow it down to one or two statement pieces.
3. Keep it classy
Ultra-trendy garb is more of a weekend thing. In the business-casual land, timeless is best. A simple pencil skirt or cardigan is perfect. Remember you are there for your job, and it’s not a fashion show.
4. Keep it individual
Boring outfits are overrated and let you blend in with the crowd. You want to make a great first impression when you meet someone or interview for a job. Within the first 30 seconds of an introduction you are judged, and an impression of you is made. You can either take the initiative to make a lasting one or not. Go for that killer outfit that will help you make the statement you want.
Other areas that often get looked over are accessories and beauty. Accessories can make or break an outfit. Go for the statement collar necklace or bright clutch, and claim your individuality of your outfit. When picking out shoes stick to buying closed toed shoes, flats, modest pumps, wedges or jeweled sandals. No strappy heels or tennis shoes, and as before, when in doubt, emphasize neutral! Make sure to take time out of your schedule to groom yourself! Do your makeup (keep it natural), do your hair (up-do preferred) and keep your nails polished (neutral polish).
It takes time to perfect the professional look, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Follow the four simple rules: keep it covered, keep it simple, keep it classy and keep it individual. You can never be overdressed, and the best thing you can wear in the office is a smile and whole lot of confidence. Now take these tips and tricks, and go rock that next interview or presentation!