Written by Megan Flynn and Jenni Schweitzer
This week, Jenni's friend Ashley asked us to guest-blog for her over at Entry Level Angst, a blog dedicated to the life of the newly employed corporate college graduate. She wanted us to write about workplace fashion, which is kind of perfect, actually, because that was next on our list anyway.
Definitely give her a look! You can read the article below or hop over to her blog to read it and learn a few other things, as well. Enjoy!
So, you graduated from college and snagged that job in an office. Whether you love it or hate it, what you wear to work is really important. If you were that girl who wore pajamas to class every day, well, whatever. We gave you a hard time and were grateful that we weren’t you, but it didn’t matter in the long run because we weren’t signing your paychecks. It probably shouldn’t, but people judging you suddenly matters when money is involved. No pressure or anything. So what are you going to wear?
Here’s the first problem: you don’t have any money. Okay, you have some money, but please, don’t spend your rent and grocery money on shoes or skirts. Unless you can budget a specific amount of money to invest in your wardrobe and stick with it (not us), don’t worry about spending a fortune all at once to score a closet full of new big girl outfits (us). We’re all about adding to your collection slowly, over a period of time. A new watch now, a new pair of shoes later. Cute necklace, new shirt, you get the idea. Our wardrobes are still growing, one piece at a time.
So, now that we’ve got the first problem figured out, let’s talk about your first course of action: look in your closet. We’ll bet you have plenty of things to wear to work hidden in there somewhere. Let’s talk about our favorite—dresses. Megan has a slew of sundresses that seem frivolous and too girly to be taken seriously in the office, but you can add to it and have a perfect career-girl look in no time. Just remember to do the hemline limbo – not too far above or below your knee. What’s our secret to success? Good accessories. So, say you have a high-waisted flowery skirt, and you have a little black tee both just lying around. You can wear these to work. Tuck your shirt into your skirt, add a necklace and some non-hoochie heels and you’re ready to go. The right jewelry and shoes can pretty much make any outfit work on the job.
Obviously, there are rules that must be applied to the use of heels at work. First of all, can you walk in them without looking like a cavewoman? Great. If you’re about to fall over, stick to flats or some cute metallic or beaded sandals. Jenni prefers pointy-toe flats: the best of both worlds. If you can pull off heels for eight hours, then remember that they don’t need to be crazy high or crazy loud. Colors are oftentimes acceptable, but for the most part you might just want to stick with black, brown, or Megan’s current favorite, nude/tan peep-toes, pumps or t-straps. Make sure you check the dress code policy at your office/retail/Outback Steakhouse.
Now let’s talk about jeans. Obviously, everyone’s job is different, so if you’re working somewhere casual or super-artsy, jeans might be allowed. If they are, stay away from anything with holes in it, and while you’re at it keep away from faded or acid-wash jeans, too. Basically, wear dark jeans to work. Trouser cut jeans are awesome but a nice boot-cut might be just fine.
So, let’s review.
• Don’t spend a ton of money if you don’t have it.
• Add to your wardrobe a few pieces at a time, and while you’re at it always look for sales. New York & Company is your friend.
• Recycle what you already have by adding nice accessories to it—an interesting necklace or a simple black cardigan or fitted jacket can work wonders.
• Your office is not Project Runway — no need for seven inch heels. Especially if you can’t even walk in them. And leave your leopard/tiger/baby seal print at home.
• Be careful with jeans. Make sure you’re allowed to wear them at work. And if you are, stick with dark wash. Dark wash. Dark wash dark wash dark wash.
Mostly, you want to be comfortable and presentable. Let your boss know that you thought about what you put on before you came to work. If you do that, they’ll know that you care about your job and representing them well. That raise will be yours in no time.