As part of my economics class, you can choose to wear “professional work attire” each day to school in order to receive payment in fake money (like Monopoly dollars; we have a fake “mini economy” to buy/sell goods and services). I love to dress up, and I basically wear work clothes every day to school anyways. So when the option came around to start dressing up for school to get paid, I naturally said yes. But what I’ve learned? Other girls my age don’t know what is work appropriate, which makes sense since they don’t have any professional work experience. I think I only know because of years of watching “What Not to Wear”. 🙂 So whether you’re in my econ class, you have a college interview, or you’re about to start a new job, the work wear guidelines I’m about to share will be the perfect tool for you!
Keep in mind, all work places are different and what may slide in one office could be a total faux pas in another. Work environments categorize “business casual” and “office attire” very differently. If you’re ever unsure, always play it safe with something on the dressier side.
So now for some basic rules of thumb. These are not always true, but for the beginning of a job (or if I were some fancy economist) these are some great guidelines to follow.
What NOT to Wear:
- Denim—denim jackets and jeans are usually too casual for an office environment, but if you’re not sure of your job’s dress code, observe for a few weeks and see if anyone else wears them. If you do decide to wear jeans, a dark, even wash is usually best for looking dressy, and you don’t want them skin tight. Also, make sure there are no holes or shredding!
- Leggings—NO NO NO! I am a huge advocate for “leggings are not pants,” however, I realize the majority of my peers do not feel this way. Okay. But under no circumstances can you pass leggings for pants at work. Just don’t do it! It looks unprofessional and inappropriate (nobody needs to see those panty lines…or the lack there of). The only time leggings are acceptable in the office is in the winter under a dress, as if you’re wearing tights.
- Sandals—like denim, sandals just don’t look very professional. I think it’s the toes honestly; toes just weird people out and distract from the working environment. ;-)Sometimes sandals can pass, like heeled sandals or even dress sandals, but it’s best to try to avoid them. Opt for cute ballet flats instead. Even if you do wear sandals, just please promise me they’re not Birkenstocks or flip flops. Clinking around or making weird noises with your shoes is a big no-no.
- Sweatshirt material—I thought this would’ve been a no brainer, but maybe not? Even if you have a cute sweatshirt that is bedazzled or something, I personally think it’s best to save sweatshirts for the weekends. Of course there are always exceptions, but you’d have to be pretty style savvy to make a sweatshirt appropriate for work. It would have to be a non-hooded, crewneck sweatshirt that looks closer to sweater. Pairing it with skinny black pants definitely wouldn’t cut it.
What TO Wear:
- A blazer—I get it, you don’t want to look like a boring lawyer in her 50s who still wears the same ugly pantsuit from the 80s. I felt that way about blazers too once. But then I realized, they don’t have to be boring! And they can actually fit well! And they can be worn on the weekends too! What?? Yes, all of this is true. Buying just a blazer (as opposed to the whole suit) is a great way to ease into workwear. Try finding a blazer that has a unique detail, color, or pattern that you love, like this pleather detailed blazer. For “work” aka econ class aka an interview, you can rock it with black pants and classic black pumps. But for the weekend? Spice it up girl! Throw on a statement necklace, your favorite skinnies, and a cute clutch and voila, you have a super chic going-out outfit.
- Shift dresses—I love shift dresses like the coral mosaic pattern dress in Wednesday’s post and this similar blue print dress. They’re so easy to throw on and go in one step; no hassle and no accessories needed. Plus the colors and patterns are so pretty! And you don’t have to worry about your dress being too tight or short for the office—these dresses seem to be on the longer side. Max Studio at Nordstrom Rack makes some really pretty ones, FYI. 😉
- Sassy but classy cardigans—Just like this green cardigan, this maroon polka dot cardi, and this blush statement sweater, little cropped sweaters that you can layer over a nice blouse or cami make for great outfits. They look especially cute over dresses! Plus, there are so many styles of cardigans (as proven by my little collection) that you can surely find something you like.
- An old fashioned cap-sleeve blouse and trousers and faux-Valentino Rockstud shoes, like me! 😛
I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe found it informative? Have a great weekend!!
Miles of smiles,
Crème Lace Blouse: H&M, $30 // Grey Trousers: JCPenney, $16, debut on the blog // Faux Valentino Rockstuds: BCBGeneration via DSW, on clearance for $42, debut on the blog