Ever get a new job and think, “Oh god, what do I wear?”
It can be difficult to navigate a new world of dress codes and expectations when you start working somewhere new. Even more so when the dress standards are vastly different from the ones you are used to. So if you’re trying to take your outfit from everyday to work friendly- I’m here to help. Check out some of my tips for dressing for the workplace.
1. Cuff your sleeves.
It might seem small, but cuffing your sleeves can help a ton with making you seem more polished at work. The cardigan I’m wearing is a bit slouchy, so it needs something to make it seem like I’m not just bummin’ around at home. Here, I went so far as to cuff my sleeves over my cardigan for an extra stylish look. Cardigans are great replacements for blazers or jackets in a workplace setting, but they can easily look too laid-back. A small detail like this gives the illusion of putting in more effort, thus making YOU look more pulled together than the guy next to you with ratty cuffs hanging over his hands.
2. Pick a shoe with a heel, but skip the stilettos.
Seriously! Its annoying that woman have to wear heels to look professional. Don’t kill yourself in four inch stilettos at work. Instead, opt for something like this boot. It has a pointed toe as well as a slight heel to make you look powerful af, yet comfy. Obviously, check your dress code to make sure your boots are work friendly first. And if they are- go for it! You can find a million different options at the mall, and boots like these will go great with both pants and skirts. Not a fan of boots? Try something like this or this.
3. Find the right belt.
If there is one thing I will stress about belts is this- wearing the wrong belt can take your outfit from chic to 2005 faster than you can blink. To be safe, I’d say have at least three in varying widths in your wardrobe at all times. For example, I have a belt with a large silver buckle that is a bit wider than the one I’m wearing in this photo. Do you know what I would’ve looked like if I had gone with that belt? A good ole country gal out to ride her horse. Not the look you’re going for when heading to work.
The one I am wearing has enough detail to be interesting, but doesn’t take away from the outfit as a whole.
4. Work friendly doesn’t mean boring.
You don’t want to go to work completely devoid of your personality. There’s no fun in that! Find something that YOU like to add to your workwear. Example: Carry a rockin’ purse to work with you. Sure, you might not wear it while you’re at work, but when you have a killer handbag completing your look walking into work feels like walking a runway. Another great thing to do is wear a fun necklace. For this look, I’m wearing a cactus necklace. Its cute, its fun, and its just for me. You can easily add in the fun with items like jewelry, belts, purses, or even scarves. Back when I worked at Jones New York, I used to tie funky scarves to my bag just to spice up my boring business casual outfits. Find something you love, and wear it.
5. Pay attention to the textures.
Possibly the most underrated advice given to someone dressing for the workplace is this: wear different textiles. I can’t tell you how many outfits I have seen that would have been improved by simply replacing a jersey cardigan with a marled knit. This is especially true for people in their early twenties who don’t have the means to buy more expensive work clothes. Pairing a jersey dress with a jersey cardigan and flats is dull. The clothing items disappear into each other creating a look that is not at all visually interesting. Remember! Work friendly isn’t synonymous with dull. Play with different textiles to pull together a look that is visually appealing. The contrast of denim and knits in this outfit is a great example of how to play with textures to improve an outfit.
And if you can’t afford those different textiles? Go thrifting! No one has to know you bought that jacket for $4. Those pants were $2.50? I never would’ve known! You don’t have to spend a lot to look good.
Putting together work outfits you will enjoy wearing can be tedious if you don’t know where to start. When shopping look for these three basics: a fitted pant or skirt, a button up top, and a solid pair of shoes. Then build off of that. My general rule of thumb is that each item I am buying should go with a minimum of two other items in my closet. This is especially helpful when you don’t have a large budget.
Have questions? Want to offer some advice on work friendly attire? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! I am always happy to hear from you.
Top: H&M (similar)
Cardigan: STRUT [Similar 1 + Similar 2]
Jeans: STRUT [Similar 1 + Similar 2]
Boots: STRUT (Similar 1) (Similar 1)
Purse: STRUT (Similar )
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BEHIND THE SCENES: It was 100 degrees, I sweat through my jeans, Averi almost lost my hat. PHOTOS BY: MICHAEL ADCOX