Some observations on professional attire made in the workplace:
1. Short skirt + tailored blazer = tacky. Sure, this is a fun look for weekend drinks or brunch with the girls, but it does not say “launch me up the ladder of success.” Pair a sharp blazer with an equally sharp (and flattering) pencil skirt for an ensemble fit for the conference room. Or, if you’re feeling a bit whimsical (which is absolutely allowed at work), combine with a flowing satin skirt—just keep it knee length.
Hotspot: H&M currently has a gorgeous array of blazers in stock at affordable prices.
2. Pant/skirt suits need not be frumpy. Go with classic colors and patterns, like black, gray, khaki, or pinstripe, to avoid being compared to fruit. (Purple is lovely, but exercise caution—who wants to be remembered as the human grape?) And good tailoring is a must!
Hotspot: Check out brands like Sisley, The Limited, Express, Banana Republic, or Jones New York.
3. You’d think this would be a no-brainer…but the hallways of your office building are no place to strut your most achilles-straining stilletos. You will regret it by 10 a.m.—and that’s a promise. I’m not advocating trading in your Manolos for aerated old-lady boat shoes, but there is a middle ground. For starters, say no to temptation and refuse to order shoes unless you know exactly how they will fit and what kind of cushioning they offer. There are PLENTY of attractive shoe options out there that won’t murder your feet.
Hotspot: I highly recommend Liz Claiborne for the ultimate in classic/comfort, as well as Audrey Brooke (featuring an amazing foam pad just under the ball of the foot).
4. There is no need to squash your personality in favor of drab colors and boring cuts; you will be as memorable as the carpet. Showcase your energy, creativity AND professionalism; make sure your supervisor notices your dedication and work ethic rather than your inappropriate or schlumpy attire.
Pictures courtesy Jones New York.