At the age of 23, am I a major success? Not yet, but I am definitely on my way there. I will not deny that helpful people, luck, and good timing has been on my side, but why did I get a promotion after less than a year at my current job? Luck had nothing to do with it. My hard work and determination was major factor, but my appearance was a huge part of it as well. Since I was a young age, my mother always said “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. Cliché term, but it certainly does ring true in the business world.
I work in a generally casual industry, it is easy to slip into wearing jeans and a blouse everyday. No one would judge me. I would just look like everyone else. I made a conscious decision from the start to not look like the crowd. Hard work can only get you so far, at the end of the day, perception is everything. What does jeans and a cute top say about you? You probably look cute, but you also look comfortable. What does comfortable say about you? You look comfortable in the position you’re in. You may feel silly being the odd one out who dresses up, but you won’t feel silly when you are taken more seriously than your peers. Trust me, I am a prime example.
If you work at company that enforces a strict business attire dress code then I actually have a completely different rant for you. I don’t know why in women’s heads a corporate office job means “Okay I’m a boring adult now, better get out my ill fitting pants suit and commuting sneakers”. Please spare me the matronly attire! This goes out specifically to 20 somethings who just graduated college in the past few years. Your youth did evaporate when you accepted your diploma on graduation day and you do not need to start dressing like a woman on her way to retirement! There are fashionable office clothes out there. Believe me, that whole dress for the job you want thing applies to you too.
I don’t think a corporate dress code means you must be devoid of imagination and fashion sense. I think it should encourage you to look and sleek and well dressed every single day you walk into your office. You might be the best worker in your entire office, but don’t be surprised when that girl who looks like a Banana Republic ad on a daily basis gets a promotion before you. When you are one of the many workers bees looking like you took some extra time getting ready for work definitely gives you a leg up on the competition. I have successful friends and family to prove it.
Okay, I am done with my little dress for success lecture. I put together some looks that includes staples that every girl’s office wardrobe should include. Note that I threw a high end bag into every look. This blog is dedicated to affordable fashion, but I think even if you only have one you must splurge when it comes to your work bag! It has to be able to withstand the wear and tear of your daily commute. It doesn’t need to be as expensive as the bags I chose for my look, but you must invest in a leather bag for work. And hey what better time to throw it in? It’s the holidays, put it on your Christmas/Chanukah list ;)!
A pencil skit is 1940s classic. There will never be a time where it completely goes out of style. There will never be a time where you look silly wearing one to the office. Here is the key thing though, a pencil skirt can go from cute to boring very quickly. It must must must be worn with heels. I don’t care how tall you are, the length is awkward, and you need the heels to balance everything out. To give it a fresh look, rather than pairing this with a blouse or button up, try wearing white tee tucked in. Throw on some statement jewelry to pull everything together. I personally have the bag in the look and would highly recommend it. It can fit so much without looking stuffed to brim!
Classic and flattering for every body type, the shift dress should be your go to for any big office moments. Presentation, big meeting, you name it. The right shift dress will look effortless, timeless, and chic. I threw in some bright blue pumps for a pop of color.
I don’t care where you work. Pants (multiple pairs) should always be a major part of your office wardrobe. They’re sleek, they’re stylish, and they’re perfect for any office. Here is the important thing to remember, ill fitting pants ruin an outfit. I would strongly suggest wearing only slim cut pants. They wider the leg the more potential for trouble. The key areas to focus on when trying on pants are hips, crotch, and length. Make sure they are not too tight or too loose at the hips. Make sure it doesn’t hit to high or low in the crotch area (both will not be flattering). When it comes to length be careful that it isn’t too long or short. You want to look like your pants fit you just right.
Every office is different. Some are more business casual, while some have a stringent dress code. Either way, don’t fall victim to boring business attire. It is an unnecessary evil.You should look like you take yourself seriously. You should look like you take pride in how you present yourself day-to-day. If you don’t value yourself why should other people? I hope when you are getting ready for work tomorrow you will heed my advice and take a few extra minutes in planning your outfit. Dress for success everyday!
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