I love clothes and style just as much as the next girl, but even I have trouble figuring out how to bring my sense of personal style to the workplace. Sometimes it is difficult to be professional and, well, me at the same time. This is why I'm participating in Monster.com's "Present the Best You" contest*. I've been asked to share some of my tips for young professionals who struggle with the balance between personal style and office appropriate. Monster has launched a new app, BeKnown, to help you too! It's a great resource for anyone new to the workforce who is adjusting to new responsibilities.
Here are a few tips to help anyone who struggles with the same thing.
- Get creative with items you already own. I started working when I was graduate student (read: poor) and I didn't have a big budget for new "professional" clothes. I scoured through my closet to find things that could be fashioned in a way that made them work-appropriate. I had tons of cute dresses that were too short, but with a pencil skirt over them, made great tops. Be creative when going through your already existing wardrobe before heading to the store.
- Invest in some really great basic pencil skirts. I have about 30 skirts in my closet, but I generally wear the same few over and over again. The key here is that they are a solid color that allow me to coordinate endless ensemble options.By purchasing items that are versatile you can get so much more return on investment.
- Own one bold, crazy piece you love. Work can be fun, so why not bring some of that same excitement to your wardrobe? My favorite pieces are the ones that people can't help but noticing. Interesting patterns or colors tend to start conversations with coworkers and clients. A patterned dress, a bright colored blazer or even electric colored heels make it fun to climb the corporate ladder.
- There is a place to be sexy, and it isn't work. The number one rule when dressing for work is to actually follow the dress code. It sounds obvious and it is, but you'd be surprised. Can't wear open toed shoes to work? Don't! If you have no formal dress code, than at least follow these simple rules. Would you wear it to church? Would you wear it to meet your boyfriend's parents? If the answer to those questions is "no" then don't wear it to work.
Here are a few outfits that I've worn to work. You don't need an unlimited closet for unlimited outfit options!
*As a participant I've received a prize pack including a makeup kit and business card holder from Monster as well as other materials from Monster Worldwide.