Everyone has those certain issues that can really push their buttons. You know, those topics that immediately put people on their soapbox to rant for hours? We’ve all seen these people on facebook or on television showing such passion for their said issue. Maybe for you it’s the break room coffee, your boyfriend not doing the dishes, or the latest Kardashian scandal. For me, it’s women who don’t dress professionally within the workplace, so without further ado let me step up to my soapbox…..just kidding, well kind of!
We’ve all seen them, the women who show up to work looking less than impressive. They’re wearing too short, too tight, or unflattering pieces of clothing. I’ve been a working girl for seven years after landing my first “big girl job” in the fall of 2007. Throughout that time I’ve seen quite a few mishaps when it comes to work attire. Today I not only want to offer some advice on a few key things that I believe every woman needs to know on this topic, but to also boldly exclaim that your personal style does not have to be sacrificed when dressing professionally.
STEP AWAY FROM THE JUNIOR’S SECTION. If you’re a woman in your mid to late twenties, you should not be shopping in the juniors section for work attire, or really any attire at all. Juniors clothing is just that, clothing for girls in their teenage years. No matter your size, this is not the section for you. Whether you are petite plus size or somewhere in between there is a section for you at most adult stores. Shop these sections! This first step will help keep you away from clothes that don't fit.
Be intentional about what you are buying for work hours. When I’m shopping for professional attire I always ask myself, “Is this appropriate for work?”. Do not ask yourself, “Does this look cute?”. This is where women get mixed up. Just because an item looks great on you doesn’t mean it is appropriate for work. Skirts and dresses should always be 2 inches above the knee or longer. Shirts should not be see through or show cleavage. Pay attention to size. Again, it doesn’t matter what size you are, find clothing that fits you well. You should feel comfortable, not like you are about to bust a seam! When trying on work wear make sure to sit down in dressing room or bend over. Act out what you would be doing at work to make sure you are dressed appropriately for the tasks at hand.
As a Resource Girl I’m a true believer in not having to spend a fortune to look great. Express, Banana Republic, The Limited, and Nordstrom are all great stores, but on a social worker budget they’re not always affordable. A few staple pieces from these stores, on a great sale day, is definitely worth it. I own a couple pair of The Limited dress pants that I love and that have held up great through the years. Stores to keep in mind for work attire on a budget: Kohl’s, JcPenney, Tj Maxx, H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy and Target.
Don’t be afraid to add your personal flare! Dressing appropriately at work doesn’t have to translate to boring. Whether you love funky jewelry, bright colors, or shoes with an edge you should add this into your everyday work style. Larger than life hoop earrings, and 7 inch heels should probably stay in your closet until after 5, but don’t be afraid of a little edge.
In college, Cat and mine’s motto was “Dress Nice, Test Nice.” I really believe there is something to this saying. Feeling great about yourself should definitely always start on the inside, however, there is something to be said about feeling great on the outside too. As a young, female professional I believe it’s important for you to represent your best self.
People will take you seriously, give you respect and in turn you will feel better about yourself on those long work days.