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Workplace Fashion – Keep It Corporate and Cute

30 Comments

When Miraque Hicks graduated from college two years ago, she immediately began her career and knew she’d be successful. After all, Hicks was a hard worker and she was ambitious–two important qualities to possess as a young woman entering the workforce. Hicks’ diligence and ambition were key aspects of her personal brand–she knew that in order to be successful, she’d have to network, find a mentor and work well with others. Workplace fashion was right at the top of her of concerns.

What troubled her most? Making the transition from jeans and sneakers to building an office wardrobe that would match her career goals and the skills she was learning everyday.

“It was hard at first to find clothes that made me feel like me but were still business appropriate,” she said. “It was a real culture shock.” In time, Hicks learned how to build a wardrobe that spoke to her personal style and did not cost too much money. Today, she works in a less traditional corporate setting yet she still refuses to dress too casually.

“People form impressions based on the way you look,” Hicks said. “It’s all about perception. I don’t want anyone to presume that I work in any other department but the one I work in.”

Building a professional wardrobe is a vital aspect to cultivating a personal brand. But what does this professional wardrobe look like? How is it helping women to develop their personal, professional brand? A survey conducted by London-based Bute Coaching in 2011 found that 45 percent of people don’t even think about their personal brand and its relationship to building a successful career. That’s a startling statistic as many women need to constantly think about the image they are projecting as they attempt to climb the corporate ladder, move up the ranks in educational settings or become artistic directors in creative spaces.

Washington D.C.- based career coach Patrice Washington agrees. “You should always be thinking of your long-term goals,” Washington said. “Always show up dressed and ready so if someone says ‘I can’t make this meeting, can you go for me?’ The benefit of always standing out is that you always get the opportunity. And filling in for the right people at the right time can change your life.”

And for women–whether they are just beginning their careers or are seasoned professionals–having a signature professional brand does include being cognizant of appropriate work attire.

Building Your Professional Brand While Starting Your Career

Several months ago grade school teacher Patrice Brown, found herself in the middle of an internet controversy. The young woman had a great figure but were bodycon dresses and skin-tight jeans appropriate for the classroom? While many believed that Brown’s wardrobe was fine for the workplace, others argued that she was not setting a good example for young people through her attire. What is reasonable and accepted for your social interactions can create questions about professional maturity with another audience.

“Don’t just think about your audience,” says Washington. “Consider them but consider others. You could have long-term aspirations and you don’t even know who is connected to someone who could move you along.” In other words, keep it trendy and sophisticated, but leave the bodycon dresses for the club.

Work Dresses - workplace fashion

Work Dresses by bosschixnetwork

 

If you show up wearing super high heels and super short skirts, it’s guaranteed that you’ll raise eyebrows and even get a few side eyes from coworkers. Yes, you might turn a few heads, but you probably also won’t be the first up for promotion. What’s worse is you might not even be taken seriously for the work that you’re able to produce.

“No blazers over bodycon dresses,” says Washington. “That look only fools an amateur. They’ll know if your dress is from Rainbow or Ann Taylor.” Instead, young professionals should focus on purchasing stylish pieces that will accentuate their personal style while also show their growing professionalism.

Blazers - workplace fashion

Blazers by bosschixnetwork featuring a collar jacket

“Pay attention to what you can and cannot wear to work,” says Gwen Hodrick of Dallas-based Ask Coach Gwen. “Purchase staple pieces but you don’t have to look like you’re wearing a uniform everyday.” Most importantly, when developing a wardrobe, young professional women should remember “your professional brand will last throughout your career,” says Hodrick. Even if you move away from an industry, there will be an imprint on who you once were so put a lot of thought into what you are doing.”

Maintaining or Expanding Your Brand as a Seasoned Professional

If you’ve been working for some time and have begun to establish your professional brand, it’s important to maintain your appearance, Washington warns. “Always show up like it’s your first day,” she says. “The beauty of the seasoned professional is being at the pulse of a new trend. Stay in touch with the current trends.”Leave your mom’s Kasper suits and Talbot’s pants on the store hanger. Instead, Washington advises women to dress for their age. “Weave in polished pieces,” she says. “Remember: I am not my grandmother. I am not a millennial. But I am fashion forward and I will be taken seriously.”

The Little Black Dress is the ultimate wardrobe staple if you are looking to use fashion to help build or maintain your professional brand. It pairs easily with a colorful pair of pumps, a blazer, or cardigan. On the other hand, you can easily use add a silver or gold-toned statement necklace to add some style to the dress. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color to your wardrobe. Wearing color shows that a seasoned professional woman has light, advises Washington.

Finally, remember, whether you are starting your career or well established, you’ve got to be think about the messages that you send to others. “When women let their guard down, people will be ready to take whatever power they possess away,” says Hodrick. “Being a minority woman, we’ve got to work even harder in leadership roles.”

Keeping It Corporate and Cute

Keeping It Corporate and Cute by bosschixnetwork

 

 

 

 

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30 Comments on "Workplace Fashion – Keep It Corporate and Cute"

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LeShelle, host of MRTV
Guest

Poor Teacher Bae. I don’t necessarily think her attire was work appropriate but I also don’t think anything she would have worn other than a Supreme Court justice robe could hide her curves.

Aija
Guest

That’s a fair point, just being a little more conscientious would serve her well. Nothing wrong with her dress in the right setting!

imagineyourart
Guest

Love all of the styles! You can mix and match with almost everything while keeping it stylish and sophisticated!

Holly
Guest

I especially like the blazers. A black dress is definitely a staple.

Tiffany H.
Guest

I can def see your point on this subject matter. I have always worked in settings where we could wear jeans etc. I am at an organization that allows us to wear jeans only on Friday and I am struggling because I love casual wear at work.

Shantel Turner-Collins
Guest

That’s the only part of working in corporate america that I miss. I enjoyed “dressing up” for work every morning. I continued to do so even when they relaxed the dress code.

Aija
Guest

That’s a great point you made, even if the dress code is relaxed we can benefit by dressing like the next level up.

Jasmine
Guest

I love a nice blazer and cute pumps for the office. I don’t go to the office very much anymore, but I love dressing up to go when I do

Jay Colby
Guest

This was some very valuable information. That anyone can use when they enter the workforce.

Jo
Guest

These are some cute options. I used to have to dress up for work when I was in the financial sector, but now it’s jeans and sneakers. lol I’m glad my job gives the option to be casual.

T. Espi (@TheStyleMedic)
Guest

I speak to high school students and women entering the workforce about this exact topic. Your wardrobe can be both profession and full of personality. This is so important for people to understand.

mommytalkshow
Guest

When I first started in TV news, I had the ease of going to places like Casual Corner for affordable business seats and business-wear.

mommytalkshow
Guest

Too bad Casual Corner closed!

Aija
Guest

Right! I remember Casual Corner 🙂

Nichole
Guest

I love each look. And I agree pay attention to what you can and cannot wear. There is always room for style but we must be conscious of corporate policy. I absolutely love every piece.

Ana Ojha
Guest

You’ve picked up some great pieces. I love styling my dresses with jackets. It gives a very sophisticated look as well as protects me from the chilled air from A.C.!

Shellz
Guest

Having a few blazers in your wardrobe is essential when it comes to making an outfit pop! Unfortunately for me I can’t seem to find ones I really like.

distherapy
Guest

Oh my goodness! i love the classic pieces you have picked out. I do believe these styles would work not only in any business setting, but I wish I saw more of this elsewhere in society. I say “yes” to this dress! 😀

Aija
Guest

Yes, it’s important that certain pieces pull double duty in your wardrobe! Who has the $$ to spend on entirely separate wardrobes! 🙂 As mentioned in the post, not the body con dresses, lol. But nice pants, skirts, and blouses can work for other purposes as well.

Valerie
Guest

These outfits are super cute. I love how they still are girly and flirty without being stuff.

Aija
Guest

Yes, one thing I adamantly believe that a professional wardrobe does not have to be lacking in style and it can still be feminine!

rg862015
Guest

I LOVE all these looks. Unfortunately, as a teacher who spends half her day chasing children around, I find it hard to wear skirts and dresses. But anytime I’m in the office or meetings, I find myself wearing a look like this.

Kashara
Guest

Exactly! Building your brand in a corporate environment definitely has much to do with your attire. Nice write-up.

The Trophy WifeStyle
Guest

Omg loving these looks!!!!! That polka dot dress is just too chic

L.C. @ A Life of Authenticity
Guest

You are so on point. Your professional wardrobe is your brand, and people make judgments about you by how you present yourself. Nice job!!

The Editor
Guest

I love that polka dot dress, the cut and shape is perfection. And i don’t mind the same style in different prints and fabrics.

-blairvillanueva

Rose
Guest

When of the things I miss staying at home is dressing up for work. That polka dot dress is cute! I lack the excitement of dressing up just to hang out at home everyday. Now when I know I have errands that something to look forward too.

Brenda Melendez
Guest

This is a really informative article. I agree that it’s important to dress appropriately for everyone around. I like all of the outfits that you showed.

creativethriftychef
Guest

These are great selection of clothes. I love that blue dress, that is the kind of style that I like to wear on dates.

Amber
Guest

These are some great choices. I’m a SAHM so I basically just wear what’s comfortable. I really like these dresses.

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