Maybe you’re planning your outfit for an interview, trying to make an impression at the career fair, or perhaps you just got that job offer [congratulations!!] and you are now trying to figure out what you need to make sure you are dressed well for the office. [[Why can’t example outfit images just be attached to the job description??]] Allow me to assist.
First, WHAT IS BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL ATTIRE?
This is the most professional wardrobe classification. Organizations that require business professional are conservative and professional: finance, accounting, marketing and usually government work. Think equivalent of a pant suit, but not.
Some examples: a dress and jacket; a blouse and pencil skirt; dress pants with a blouse. Dress in neutral colors such as black [I hate black so I wear navy], navy [never “blavy”], and grey. Add pops of color with a blouse, belt or necklace. Tip: interviewers are more likely to remember you if you wear a statement piece!
Heels are preferred, but flats can work too. Go for the flats if you don’t trust yourself in heels. If you really want to wear those heels and you’re not totally confident, walk around your apartment wearing them the night before. To paraphrase Jenna Marbles, you made a commitment to your shoes and no matter how painful or bloody your feet may be, DO NOT TAKE OFF YOUR HEELS. So do yourself a favor and make sure you can actually wear them!
Second, WHAT IS BUSINESS CASUAL?
Business casual is for those companies who want to impress their clients when they come in the office, but don’t actually want to dress up. Most companies abide by this dress code. For business casual, think Sunday dinner with your grandparents.
Examples: a dress; a flowy top and skirt; dress pants and a sweater. Wearing jeans is a bit controversial. Some companies are okay with them, some are not. If you do choose to wear them, make sure they don’t have holes and they’re not super tight. A nice pair of jeans can look great with a pair of heels!
Be more colorful in your clothing choices [don’t go overboard]. Still implement a statement accessory. Go for heels [you may feel a little over-dressed], wedges, flats and even sandals [not flip flops!].
Lastly, CREATING YOUR WARDROBE:
Dresses will be your best friend. They are super easy, don’t involve matching shirts and skirts, and don’t require pants! The perfect essential to any [lazy] working girl’s closet.
Skirts: Have a few on hand. Make sure they are versatile and can match most tops in your closet.
Dress pants: I have two pair of dress pants [black and navy], and that is perfect. They match everything and are easy to dress up or down.
Shirts: Tops are the most difficult because it’s so easy to buy way too many. You honestly only need 3-4 sweaters and maybe 4 blouses [you need at least a white and a blue one!]. My recommendation: if you can’t think of at least three pant/skirt combinations with which to wear it, don’t buy it!
Blazer: You need one. No matter how casual you think your office is, you still need it. Go for either black or navy for your first!
Other tips: make sure your shoulders are always covered, don’t wear anything low-cut, and use that finger-tip rule they taught us in elementary school [if the hem is above your fingertips, don’t wear it!].