I've seen a lot of tweets lately from young ladies who are just starting their careers and confused about what they're supposed to wear to work. Let's face it, we are in confusing times. This isn't the 60's when men wore suits and ladies wore pencil skirts and cardigans (the tighter, the better). It's not the 80's when everyone everywhere wore suits. We're in a fashion-forward more casual than ever grey area and for a newby in the workplace this can be confusing.
Firstly, there are exceptions to consider... There are jobs and offices that still require daily suiting and if you work in one, you need to follow the rule, but there's nothing to say you can't have fun with it. Add a brooch, wear fun shoes, use your bag or statement necklace for a pop of color and get suits that are flattering and feminine!
Otherwise, here are a few rules to consider that are pretty safe for most office dress codes:
- Embrace clean lines and symmetry - they just look better and more professional. Dresses, pantsuits, pencil skirts and sleek trousers are great ways to get the look you want.
- Keep hemlines at an appropriate length - no mini-skirts in the office ladies... It just sends the wrong message.
- No cleavage - you want the board members to pay attention to you, not your twins.
- Wear heels when possible - they straighten out your posture and make you stand tall, giving you an air of confidence, whether you have it or not.
- Your bag says a lot about you! It should be clean, structured and neat - don't have pens and candy wrappers busting out of it... It says you're a mess and unorganized. Also, this is a great opportunity to choose practical over high fashion - it says you're more interested in keeping the office iPad and files safe than toting around the new Marc Jacobs it-bag.
- Just because your workplace is casual or has a casual Friday policy, doesn't mean you should be a slob. No one will take you seriously if you roll into work with a Juicy Couture track suit unless you're working in a fitness center. Keep an "I mean business" aspect even in your casual look. Try wearing a blazer with jeans and heels or trading your daily heels in for sandals. No pajamas, please!
What is your go-to look for the office?