People form a first impression of you within seconds based on your outward appearance. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Whether in an interview or just meeting a fellow business associate, it’s important to portray the mature and appropriately dressed professional that you want to be. You may have the best writing and editing skills, but if you can’t dress the part it can harm your chances of a great opportunity. It is important to feel confident and secure in any situation. For women especially, it’s more complicated than throwing on a suit or khakis and a polo shirt on like a guy would. There’s so much more room for error. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an internship, a ‘real job’ or if you’re just working an event. Below are simple outfits made up of easy pieces to be mixed and matched so you can look and feel your best.Tops
Blouses, sweaters, cardigans and blazers are all fair game. Necklines, hemlines and sleeve length are also very important. What you wear to a party should not be what you wear to work. Some great places to shop are Ann Taylor, Loft, Banana Republic and Nordstrom. Investing in neutral colored cardigans or blazers are well worth it because they can be layered over almost anything.
Dress pants are very important. When you’re a young twenty-something, a lot of cuts can make you feel like your wearing your mom’s wide-legged dress pants from the 90s. Although work clothes should be on the looser side, slim fitting pants with a tapered leg can be very flattering. Again, neutral colors that can become part of many outfits are the best. Skirts right above or at the knee are also appropriate. This is an easy fashion-faux-pas to make. When in doubt, add a pair of (opaque) black (or grey, tan, or patterned) tights to make sure you’re in the clear.
When you’re unsure, dresses are always in the clear. An LBD (little black dress) can be dressed up or down depending on the circumstances. Especially if you’re attending an event where the attire can be interpreted, a dress styled appropriately will always stun. Again, layering a blazer you already have on top of a dress is perfect because it’s already in your closet. Also, if the dress has thinner straps, layering can transform pieces you already have to ready-to-wear-to-work.
It can be nearly impossible to find shoes that are cute, comfortable and appropriate. A general rule of thumb would be to cover your feet at work. This means closed toe shoes would be the most appropriate option. Nude and black pumps are a footwear essential. Everything you wear to work will fall in a category to match these pumps. High boots, below the knee, are also a fall and winter fashion need. When you don’t feel like wearing heels, it’s important to still look nice in flats. In weathered conditions, it can be even more frustrating to figure out what footwear to buy. Short boots in a water resistant material can be worn year round in and outside. Tip: Steal the Sperry’s the guy’s wear and incorporate them in to your style. When standing and walking around for long hours on a hard floor at concert venues (and travelling up and down stairs), they can be a lifesaver.
Although you may not think of it, carrying a beautiful workbag can make all the difference. I love carrying a fashionable bag to hold all of my work essentials (laptop, business cards). The best things about the bags below are that they hold so much and have built in compartments. (The tote on the end right comes in so many colors).
Especially if you have long hair, it can be difficult to tame it in the work place. Speaking from real conversations that I’ve had with PR professionals, they suggest keeping hair low, back and out of the way. You can definitely still style your hair down when you want. However, they suggest that women get taken more seriously when their hair is in the below styles.
Some of the best advice is that it’s always better to be a little over dressed than under dressed. Take these ideas and interpret them to be your own in a unique way. Add pops of color and customize with jewelry. Look out for sales and invest in wardrobe staples. With this advice, you’ll be sure to increase your chances of being successful immeasurably.