Ever since I started my new job, I’ve had to dress completely differently than I had in the past. Granted, I previously worked at a school where I was on my feet a lot of the day and ate lunch with a kindergarten class once a week, so wearing my nicest attire wouldn’t have made the most sense, as some days I was literally on the floor of the cafeteria picking up pieces of taco meat. 😉 While I never wore jeans to my old job, I wore lots of colorful skinny pants from LOFT and J.Crew, patterned vests, and overall more “teacher-looking” pieces, which was definitely fun and super comfortable and easy. However, in my current role, I work in a very formal office environment and dress business-like every day, especially if I have outside meetings or events.
Dressing in more formal attire doesn’t necessarily sound fun, but I haven’t minded it at all! I honestly feel so much more “work ready” and put together when I’m wearing clothing that looks the part. I’ve also found that even in a more conservative environment, I can still wear colors and patterns–just not necessarily together! Plus, I’ve found that I appreciate the days off when I can wear my “comfy clothes” that much more.
Here are some of my tips for incorporating corporate attire into your existing wardrobe:
-Buy a few good blazers. I love blazers and wear one 2-3 times a week because they just work with everything. I never would have worn one at my old job, but now I can’t get enough of them! I have a few black blazers that just go well with everything, but I also have some knit, patterned ones and even a black and white dotted one that is stylish without being too “loud” for the workplace. I’ve paired my new blazers with shirts I already have for a super easy result that’s also budget-friendly. Even if you don’t work in an office where it would make sense to wear a blazer, you should still keep one in your closet as an option should a job interview or presentation come up–they can really class up any outfit!
-Find flattering pants. If you have a few pairs of pants you love and can wear on rotation, you’re honestly all set. No need for five different pairs if you have a couple of go-to options. I love pairing plain black pants with endless shirt/cardigan combinations–I’m kind of a shirt addict and have wayyyy too many, but that’s because I enjoy shopping for shirts way more than I like shopping for pants. Finding pants that look good and are comfortable is honestly so difficult! I’ve personally found LOFT to be a great place to buy pants for work, but their styles do change season to season, so heading to the store to try on options in person may be your best bet (says the girl who’s made too many online order returns within the past year!).
-Organize your closet. Literally taking apart your wardrobe and sorting items accordingly will make it that much easier to get ready in the morning and find a suitable outfit. I decided to put my non-work items on a separate side of my closet so that I can focus solely on my professional clothes when getting ready. You also won’t be tempted to reach for that comfy sweater if you see it hanging on the “non work” side. We’ll see how long this system lasts in my own closet, but I know other people who set up their closet the same way and love it.
-Mix low and high. Don’t show up draped in name brands head to toe…it sends the wrong message and can be distracting. Pick a few investment pieces–maybe a nice bag or a pair of designer shoes–and stick to those. You’ll look polished and professional without coming across as flashy.
What are your go-to pieces of workwear and what have you purchased over and over again through the years? I’d love to hear!