So ladies, let's GET IT RIGHT! To your success!!
After 15 years in Corporate America, I've seen the shift away from business professional dress to business casual dress. Depending on the industry in which you work, the styling options can run a wide variety of choices. Below I will share some do's and don't for most office jobs. Take these as suggestions, not absolutes. Some industries could be more conservative or casual than what you see pictured below.
Business Professional & Business Casual Do's
- Do wear skirts that are knee length (no more than 1inch above the knee)
- Be fashionable but accessorize simply stated
- The more conservative the industry (banking, law, etc) the more conservative the clothing
- In your average office setting, separates are appropriate (blouses, or a shell with a cami with skirts or slacks)
- Layered looks (with a blazer or cardigan cinched with a belt to add a pop of color) are great for offices where temperatures can be unpredicatable
- Shoes should be nice but professional: flats, dressy sandals, & lower to mid-height heels. Stray away from thong sandals and flip flops.
- Jeans are acceptable for a very casual work environment or dress down Friday
Work Attire DON'TS
I'm a visual person so let's show it in pictures.
As a general rule, leggings worn as pants, jeggings or extremely tight fitting clothing should not be worn in the office even on casual days.
the sweater worn as a dress,
and to the far right, the leggings worn as pants and overstated accessories. These would pass for running around town or even hanging out with friends, but not for the office.
Anything that screams "I came straight to the office from da club." should be avoided at all cost. That includes anything with rouching, material that has a shiny sheen to it, has rhinestones or sequins, cut out shapes in the back or chest area, one shoulder tops, high/low hemline dresses, spaghetti strapped, strapless, and the like. If it would be perfect for First Friday out with the girls, it's wrong for the office.
While we're discussing club wear that can't do double duty as work wear, let's talk about shoes. I am quite the shoe lover and appreciate a shoe that can be worn in multiple situations however, shoes that might make someone think you frequent a pole, should be left at home. Please see exhibit A & B: the clear heel, and the heel over 6 inches. The red shoe is appropriately name the dagger. Don't try it....just leave them at home for ahem, another occasion.
Now let's talk about one of my favorite topics, proper foundation. This is a fashion tip that not only applies to the office but in life in general. Ladies, can we be honest here for just one moment since it's just us girls? Underneath our clothes we don't all look like Halle Berry! We're not all toned thighs and Coca-Cola bottles at the waist. But that's ok!!! It's what makes us unique and thank goodness there are foundational garments that can give us the illusion of sleekness until we get there! And we are gonna get there right? Can I get an amen? Amen! Ok then. Let me share....in love.
I hope this post was helpful to those of you who may be new graduates from college, been away from the workforce for a while, or just needed a few tips on how to look your best in the office. Unfortunately, I've seen all of these violations at my office. Remember that how you dress often reflects what you think about yourself and people associate how you look with your level of concern about your work. The perception will be if you don't take the time to put the best you forward, how could you possibly express a high level of concern about your work? One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received regarding office attire was when I was an administrative assistant. I was told, always dress for your next position, not the one you currently hold. Not only does it create the positive perception that you are promotable, but it also puts you in the proper mindset to always be preparing for your next move.
Do you have any work fashion NO - NO's that you've seen around your office? How important do you feel attire is in your work environment?
NaturallyNita is a women's lifestyle blog. After chronicling her natural hair journey 2.5 years ago, Nita realized that there were many other life journey's where she could share her lesson's learned with others. This blog focuses not only on natural hair but also health/fitness, business, finances, spiritual & personal growth. www.naturallynita.blogspot.com