Work Appropriate Style; Be Your Best Professional Self
We all have to do it at some time or another. Work. Some of us may one day get to shed “the man”
and work for ourselves or we may get the highest rank in our office (still owned by “the man” yet operated by you), but until that day we need to hold to standards set before by the powers that be (aka, whoever wrote your place of employment’s work manual). Here are a few tips to help you in your journey to looking professional while still maintaining a style that’s all your own. “The Man” just can’t take that away.
1. Be your best professional self.
OK, you have to be there-might as well smile! The number one thing you can do to look and be professional at work is the always, ALWAYS, have a good, positive attitude. This is not a reflection of where you work, who work with, who you work for, or what you do-it is, however, a reflection of you. You have a great, professional, positive attitude because of who YOU are.
2. Dress professionally based on your work environment.
If you work in an office building where suites are the norm, then invest in a nice suit and some complimentary basics. Those of you just started out in the corporate world may hear that as “wear something extremely expensive” and may be asking yourself how you can do that when you are working because you need money. You don’t have a lot of money lying around available to spend. No problem. Here are some basics you can get to help you along until you are ready for the Armani. Get yourself a basic black pant or two as well as a gray. If you are female, make one of those pieces a black skirt. Skirts are still professional and if fitted correctly can come against any man’s power suit in the boardroom. Along with the bottoms, get yourself a black blazer as well as a couple more basic colors. You can then trade out these items with different shells (sleeveless or short sleeved shirts) of various colors and styles on a daily basis to create myriad of looks. This is the easiest way to get started. Invest in comfortable heels, flats, and boots (loafers if you are a gentleman). Really splurge on the shoes if you can. You will be wearing them often and you want them to last.
If you work in a “casual” environment where khaki’s are appropriate you will do the same as above except you’ll trade in those black dress slacks for khaki pants plus a pair of gray or brown cotton pants. You can get a cotton blazer or cardigans of various colors to trade out with your shells. Great fitting flats are perfect and you will want to splurge on these again since you will be wearing them often and wanting them to last.
3. Makeup. Seriously, look profession-not like you’re going to ‘da club!
Makeup should be polished and professional. Neutrals for your skin tone are best but you can mix it up with color as long as you TONE IT DOWN. You are working, not clubbing. Project a professional image with your makeup. Look like a grownup. Chill on the winged liner. Do you seriously need those butterfly false lashes for your meeting? If you wouldn’t want your brain surgeon walking in wearing something you got on your face, take it off! You want to be taken seriously and wearing the makeup of a thirteen year old or drunken college student will not get you there. Save that stuff for your days off if you must.
4. Jewelry. Classic, yet modern.
Jewelry should be classic, yet up to date. Small hoops are ok, but if you can wear your hoops as bracelets then they are too big. Small to medium button earrings are best. Stay away from crazy trends. Keep in classy and nice. You are in a professional setting. You are not looking to be “super cute” or resemble a go go dancer. You can wear “statement” necklaces as long as they are not distracting. Chill out on the noisy jewelry. Not only is that unprofessional, it’s also annoying to your co-workers. Put a limit on your bracelets as well. If you stack your bracelets then you probably want to stop at two in the office.
Hair can be tricky. You want it to be stylish but not childish. You also don’t want to look like an old lady. Long hair is perfectly acceptable; just make sure it is nicely groomed. Don’t let it go everywhere and don’t wear pigtails. Professional and polished is key. Make sure you keep in shape and healthy as well as appropriately colored (if you color your hair). Maybe your office allows for purple hair, but most do not. Make sure it’s a color found in nature.
If it’s one of those crazy nail art designs found on Pinterest (which we all know we LOVE), it’s probably not appropriate for the office. It’s most certainly not appropriate for a corporate office. Keep the nails in a classic color (red, muted pink, anything natural) and avoid any sparkles, glitters, butterflies, feathers, minions, rhinestones, etc. You get the idea.
I hope these tips help you out in your venture into the office world! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. Check out my YouTube channel for an example of work appropriate clothing and etiquette.
Have a great day, Gorgeous!