Lately, I have three friends who have actually gotten jobs- good ones! And while they are so excited to have a new “lease on life,” they have one very major concern: What To Wear To The Office? With the opportunity to jump back on the fast track to climbing the corporate ladder, there is a very real pressure to “look the part,” but without the money…yet,- how does one accomplish a professional and polished look?
Outfit Trick #1: CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET FIRST
Throw out the old and keep the basics! Even if you do not think you will wear the boring basics- you will, so do yourself a favor and keep them! We will discuss “Basics” in just a minute.
Outfit Trick #2: ORGANIZE CLOTHING IN 1 OF 3 WAYS
By pieces and color:
For example, separate your blouses, skirts, slacks, dresses, T’s, blazers, overcoats, etc. Then color code them all so that you are searching for that ivory silk blouse mixed in with the black polkadotted, short-sleeved button down.
♥Be sure to take the out-of-season items OUT of the closet. The less mess you have the better dressed you will be!
By Pre-Planned and Categorized Outfits:
For example, once you have de-cluttered the closet, collect the remnants and start putting together potential “working girl get-ups!” Be really creative and try to think outside of the box. Do away with any preconceived notions about the way you have always worn a piece and rather, gather inspiration from magazines, celebs, trends, your mood, etc.
I like to take digital pics of outfits and then load them into my computer and organize them into categories according to “Occasion Appropriateness” i.e.
“Sales Meeting Daytime”
“Casual Office Fridays”
“Evening Business Dinners”
“Comfy, but not Frumpy”
This makes it very easy to create an online wardrobe catalogue just for you, and will cut-down the time you will have to spend every morning picking out outfit after outfit.
By Arranging Sections of Simplified Categories Including:
- “Casual/Daytime,” “Office/Professional,” & “Weekend/Date-Night,” but this is not the best way if you are into time-savers.
Outfit Trick #3: Once You’ve Seen What You Have to Work With, Get to Work and Figure Out What You Really Need
“Style 1o1 Guide” to Keep You From Wasting Your Money
Everyone needs great “BASICS”
- Button-Down Cotton Dress Shirt (White/Blue & White Striped/Pink) Ironed and Starched
- T-Shirts (long sleeved/Tanks/boat neck/V-neck) in White, Black, Brown, etc.
- Cardigans (long-sleeve/cotton/knit/short-sleeve) Any color, but I suggest Cream or Black
- Basic Pencil Skirt in Black/ Colored Denim/Cotton (just make sure it fits!)
- Great pair of heels in Black and Brown
- Great pair of flats in Black/Muted Silver or Gold/ and Brown (stick with a classic style)
- Pair of Black Pants or Black/Dark Denim jeans (Everyone needs at least two styles of jeans)
- Pair of Dress Slacks that can go with a lot of colors and styles (I always have a great pair of Black Ankle length skinny pants and a wide-legged comfy linen or classic looking Slack to spice up my wardrobe)
“STATEMENT PIECES” are a Must!
- Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings, Big Cocktail Rings, and layered Beads with vibrant colors and eccentric details tend to be considered “statement pieces”
- Belts are the easiest way to turn a plain outfit into a colorful, interesting, and flattering ensemble. You can go bohemian or classic Audrey just by choosing a certain belt.
- Think Color! Color is the easiest way to punch-up a drab basic black suit. Pair that same suit with red heels and a turquoise belt and you have a real look going.
- I love to establish looks based on time eras. For example, Bohemian Chic is straight out of the 70’s Woodstock era.
- Sometimes inspiration will come from one adored statement piece such as an interesting necklace, and then I plan my entire outfit around that central piece or theme.
- Bags are a simple way to complete a look and add color or style to your ensemble.
Bottom Line: Whether it is a striped boat-neck t-shirt I am in love with, a red patent leather belt, or a great pair of Riding boots, I establish looks based on my “statement pieces,” and I suggest you try it out and have fun with this technique.
A Polished Look from Head To Toe is The Desired End Result!
With this being said, think of your hair, nails, toes, and undergarments as basic staples to achieving this “Polished Look.”
- Inspiration can come from almost any noun– A great exotic place, A style icon from just about any era, or a film/magazine.
- Be Polished-Literally! Schedule appointments for mani/pedi’s every two weeks- this is a must!
- Get a great Hair cut and color– whether it is classically beautiful or trendy and chic! Just do not think you are going to get anywhere with frizzed-out hair, dead ends, and a color job with exposed roots!
- Never Leave the house without Make-Up and Perfume! You are a girl- it’s okay to look and smell like one! Trust me!
- Undergarments are just as important as over garments! Go and get your Spanx, Hosiery, Lingerie, and strapless bras in advance. You will not have time to shop after Monday!
- Get Your Clothes Dry-Cleaned in Advance! The minute you need that navy blazer you want it to be as fresh pressed as you are- get er’ done!
Here are some really useful links to help you get that looks you can’t quite afford just yet, but you know what they say, “Fake it til’ You Make It!”