Monday, July 18, 2016

Tips for Workplace Dressing From a Corporate Fashionista

One constant refrain when it comes to getting dressed for work: What is appropriate and what is too casual in today's office environment?

Early in my career, fresh out of college, I wore jeans to work pretty much every day... because I could. It was the early 2000s, the Internet bubble hadn't quite burst, and working environments were accepting casual wear as the norm. I think I suffered for my choice of attire, though; I wasn't taken seriously as a career woman dressed in a casual top and jeans. I was a content writer, seen as more fluff than substance.

It probably wasn't until I started graduate school in my late 20s that I realized that old adage, "Dress for the job you want," is really true. I started wearing suits and dresses to work, and things started to change.

Now, as my blog readers well know, I am always "dressed up" for work. The reason? I never know when a client is just going to show up at the office, or I'll be asked to sit in on a meeting that wasn't on my calendar. As a leader in my company, I have to prepare for the unexpected, and that means setting a good example and dressing appropriately for all occasions. But as a "corporate fashionista," I still want to look cute!

Dress: Nine West Floral Fit and Flare Dress in Sunshine

Macy's carries Nine West dresses, as does Amazon. Nine West sundresses tend to be cute and inexpensive. Here's a similar floral fit and flare dress in a different color palette if yellow isn't for you.

Pumps: Giuseppe Zanotti Daisy Pumps (no longer available)

Today's dress is an example of something that is borderline too casual for me. The dress is fun and pretty, but it's also a sundress. It works for a casual office day, but also for brunch on a Sunday or a dinner out with the girls. That said, here are my basic rules for dressing for work:

1. Try not to show too much skin, especially above the waist. Revealing bare shoulders (like in a strapless dress with no sweater or jacket over it) or an open-back dress where it's clear you aren't wearing a bra should be saved for weekend outings.

2. Shorts are never appropriate for the office - I don't care how cute they might be. Rompers are generally out as well.

3. Always wear a bra and underwear. If the dress or outfit doesn't allow you to wear one or both of these items, then don't wear it to work.

4. Know your audience. If you are meeting with someone more conservative, try to dress that way, and save your "borderline" outfits for Fridays or days when you don't have to make a big presentation.

5. Use good judgment. If you feel like you need to hide behind your desk as soon as you get to work, then next time leave this outfit hanging in your closet.