I’ve recently been speaking with a lot of women who have been seeking my advice on what they should wear to work. I respond with my version of “20 questions” so I can understand what their professional goals and personal style preferences are before I offer advice. Eventually, I always get to the question of, “what is your work environment like?”
One mistake we make is that we don’t dress according to the company dress code. Think about that person in your office that is always looks more casual than the rest of your colleagues. What words would you use to describe them? Junior? Inexperienced? Not ambitious? The reality may be further from the truth but it doesn’t matter; you’ve already made up your mind.
Adhering to the dressing norms of your company is the first step to building your personal brand and your executive presence. Which brings me to this graphic I found on Business Insider. If you are looking for a quick guide on what is acceptable in your corporate environment, then take a look at this. Just keep in mind that this is meant to be a starting point. Style is personal and its important your personality always shines through. It makes you stand out and ultimately you want to leave a lasting impression. Here’s a link to the entire article: How To Dress Like A Leader In Any Work Environment
2014 was an amazing year for Beyond the Suit. The blog was launched, we connected with hundreds of women who wanted to elevate their personal brand at work, we had our first event at the Massachusetts Conference for Women and our readership went global! When I stop and look back at all the success it wouldn’t have happened without all of you – all the women (and even men) who come back weekly to read the blog, leave comments and share ideas. This blog is for you and because of you. Hope you have an amazing night bringing in the new year. Look forward to everything 2015 will bring us!
And now, let’s countdown the top 5 blog posts of 2014:
Sam Edelman Snake Print Pumps
Top & Skirt: H&M, Necklace: Ann Taylor Loft, Shoes: French Connection
L to R: Stacey Rosati, Toni Johnson, Rebecca Forsbrey, Julie Belton, Stephanie Lubrano, Alexandra Brunetti
And the #1 post in 2014 is….
‘Tis the season! Can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week and then we are officially in the holiday season. This is truly a magical time of year. All the festive decorations go up, you can hear the holiday bells on every corner, courtesy of your friendly Salvation Army bell-ringer (official title) and people are just nicer to each other (don’t forget to drop money in the red kettle as you walk by).
This is also the time of year for company sponsored holiday parties. I look forward to mine every year. I spend so much time with my colleagues that we are now like family, so the holiday party is like another family get-together. Oh…but not quite! It is still a company event, which means how you dress will have a reflection on how you are perceived at work. (You don’t want to be the person everyone’s talking about the next day at the office.) Add to that that the holiday party tends to be right after work and now you have the increased difficulty of balancing professional dress during the day and then immediately after moving into a social event. So, let me offer a few suggestions on how to transition from day to (holiday) night, without cramping your style or reputation.
- Do you wear suits the office? Incorporate one festive piece into your look. Consider adding a sparkly top under your jacket, or split up your suit and wear the jacket over a fun skirt. When it’s time for your holiday party, you can take off the suit jacket to reveal a sophisticated look.
- Add some bling. Bold statement jewelry with big crystals are the easiest way to turn your day look into something more evening appropriate. And great accessories does not have to cost a fortune. These three pieces are super affordable.
- Swap out your shoes or purse, or both! Embellished accessories are so whimsical and the perfect pop to a tailored black suit or sheath dress. Don’t think you will wear it again? Then consider using Rent The Runway. That is where you will find the playful clutch featured above.
- And if you really feel like having a completely different look, consider changing your suit jacket or bottom with a sequenced one instead. These two from Zara are great for your holiday party and every other party after that.
Hey there! Ready for a quick tip? Want to get the most of your business suits? Pull them apart! By treating the blazers and bottoms as separate pieces and adding stand alone pieces you already own, you can create an endless amount of new looks.
Here’s an outfit I wore to work this week. I used the blazer from a suit, with pants I bought this summer and created this professional look. Navy and beige is a pretty classic color combination so you can never go wrong with this pairing.
Mix-n-match suit pieces to create new looks. Blazer: Banana Republic, Shirt: Banana Republic, Pants: H&M, Shoes: BCBG Necklace: Ann Taylor Loft
And if you really want to make your suits, and your entire wardrobe for that matter, work for you, check out the board below. I created 10 looks out of a suit, a cardigan set, a classic white button down shirt, a striped skirt and a sheath dress. Now go play in your closet and see how many new outfits you can create by mixing up your pieces. Better yet, send me your new looks by tagging me on Instagram & Twitter. Can’t wait to see what you create!
Earlier this week my colleague was complaining to me that she had nothing to wear. She wakes up every morning, goes to her closet and stares at her clothes until she finally throws her hands up in the air and grabs her go-to outfit – something in black. Does this sound like your experience? We all have days like this! With all the pressures of the mornings, it’s a miracle we can even get out the door on time, let alone looking presentable. But these moments can easily be avoided with two super simple tips.
- Plan your outfit the night before. Sounds too easy right? I bet you already know this but don’t practice it. This is key to putting together some great outfits for work. Mornings can be tough with the rush to get ready for that early morning meeting or maybe you are running around after two little boys, like I am. Why not take 10 minutes the night before to play around in your closet. Pull a few tops and bottoms, add the accessories – get creative and see what works. I bet you will put things together in ways you had not considered.
- Create a virtual rolodex of your best looks. After you put that awesome outfit together, snap a pic with your iPhone or Driod and store them in a separate album on your phone. On those days when you are completely stumped, pull up your pictures and pick your outfit. It was that easy! (In my mind I am pressing the”That was easy!” buzzard from Staples :))
Hopefully these two tips will help you look great at the office everyday. Remember, you want your exterior to match your interior. You are spending a lot of time planning out your career and making those critical moves so make sure your appearance supports it.
A few of the pictures I have stored on my iPhone.