decoding the business professional dress code If you’re a fashionable woman working in a buttoned-up, conservative world, dressing professionally is an absolute must. It’s a common belief that professional settings are not exactly friendly to the fashion forward. Well, that’s not what a professional environment is for, is it? Luckily though, you can maintain a level of style by working in fashionable elements through colorful, patterned blouses, subtle accessories and chic silhouettes.
Your go to business professional attire will be The Power Suit. I like to opt for a slim cut pantsuit, a skirt and blazer combination, or a structured and modest dress.
These are my basic guidelines for bulletproof business formal dressing:
- Wear colors based on a neutral color palette (black, navy, cream, charcoal or grey). Neon green and bright pink won’t cut it in the boardroom.
- Think simple, sleek and chic when it comes to accessories. Opt for delicate jewelry and leave your favorite statement jewelry for off-duty.
- Buy a couple of good quality, well fitted suits and skirts. They should be tailored to fit close to the body (but not tight). Skirts should hit at the knee or below. And blouses should be conservative, freshly pressed and always tucked in. Suits are not cheap, especially when you add the tailor on top, but you also don’t need many of them.
- Wear scuff-free heels or flats in a neutral color. Don’t wear anything higher than 3 or 4 inches. These single sole pumps are super sharp, comfortable and sleek. If you prefer flats, then choose the ones with pointed toe. Pointed toe shoes are ultra chic and equally comfortable as any other.
- Hair and makeup should be neat, and simple. I use a light foundation, this mineral loose powder, blush and mascara. I don’t like to complicate things with eye shadow or eye liner too much. Plus I know myself too well. The eye shadow that would stay put on my eye lids is yet to be invented.
Nobody says that just because you work in a conservative workplace you have to sacrifice style for the sake of your career. You can easily update your classic looks with a few simple tricks:
- Try cropped trousers paired with a sharp blazer. You’ll look modern, sharp and elegant. You certainly will not compromise the business professional look.
- Instead of your basic blazer opt for a lightly accented jacket like this one or simply scrunch up your sleeves for a cooler and more modern vibe.
- Instead of wearing a matching two-piece suit, mix it up and wear a black blazer with a charcoal or indigo pencil skirt or pant. Or try this drop-waist pleated skirt. As long as your colors are subdued, feel free to mix it up a bit.
- Cinch your waist with a thin, colored belt. It’s an easy way to add a fashionable pop to an otherwise basic or drab office outfit. Ann Taylor has a great assortment of skinny belts that will last.
decoding the business professional dress code
Photos by Rick Robillard