Quick Note: Thanks to Rachel from Redcliffe Style for featuring me in this week’s 30 Plus Style and Beauty. Stop on over to check it out and share your 30+ style!
Remember a few weeks back when I wrote how “We Are What We Wear”; that despite any attempt at writing off our clothes as nothing more than shallow evidence of our materialism they actually speak volumes about ourselves and our missions, particularly in a work setting? It turns out I’m not the only one who believes that. Inc. magazine’s online publication shared a very similar article a couple of weeks ago reaffirming that we still have to Dress for Success. And Levo League, one of my favorite virtual stops for all things women’s professional development and insightful career advice, offered 5 great tips for keeping the work attire classy and appropriate while staying true to your personal style. In this article, the authors stress the importance of sticking to certain prescribed style guidelines (i.e. dress codes) to avoid hampering your career advancement before your work even begins.
As alluded to in the Levo League article and obvious to anyone dressing for a business casual environment, women receive a bit more leeway within the dress code. While men generally stick to trousers, button down or polo shirts, and dress shoes, the list of business casual options for women seems endless. Fortunately for our creative style preferences but unfortunately for sticking to the “rules,” the boundaries of women’s business casual attire can seem very gray. And the unclear definitions of what is suitable and what’s not can cause confusion and lead some into unfavorable waters.
With this in mind, I have created a developing Suit Your Style series that I hope will bring some clarity to a few of those gray business casual and workwear attire boundaries. We shared previously about sleeveless tops at the office and wearing jersey dresses to work. Many readers shared comments about their office environements as well, which I found particularly insightful, so hopefully more of you can chime in with your thoughts on today’s topic.
Though not specifically “business casual,” I’ve had a few people ask recently about the definition of a “business professional” suit. More specifically, they’ve inquired if the jacket and bottoms have to match to qualify as a formal suit. While definitions of dress codes can certainly be specific to each office or company, I believe the general consensus will agree that you can meet “business professional” dress code standards even if your pieces aren’t matched. If you’re nervous about pushing the envelope in a highly conservative work environment, a black, navy, or dark gray suit will most certainly be as “down the fairway” as it gets. But I don’t think mixing in a few toned down colors or a bright floral blouse will land you “deep in the rough.”
Do you like my golf references? As you know, I shared a series on golf etiquette and the beginner’s guide to “staying on the fairway” at a corporate golf outing.
And don’t forget that, for nearly all of us, what we wear to work does matter. So give yourself a fighting chance of letting your skills shine and highlight them with stylish attire appropriate for your work environment.
Skirt – LOFT (thrifted via Savers); Blazer – JCrew (thrifted via Salvation Army);
Blouse – Banana Republic; Shoes – Jimmy Choo