As you may have guessed by the tardiness of this post, I have been woefully neglectful of my blogtops challenge this week. Still, I do have four hours to spare so might as well get down to this week’s topic, suggested by my good friend Stephen—STYLE.
From my hair, to my clothes, I’ve always been very particular about what my “style” was. When I was a youngster, my mother would sew my Halloween costumes for me. If it wasn’t exactly what I pictured in my mind I would have a tantrum until it was perfect. I’m an only child, what can I say?
Consequently, when it comes time to do pretty much anything: head to a job interview, out to the theater, or to a wedding, I always have a very specific idea about how I’m going to look. While shopping, there is a certain amount of compromise involved, of course, however more often than not I’m able to find something that fulfills the vision in my head.
Something that I’ve found particularly challenging, though, is figuring out the vision for “young professional” style particularly for my changing body type. I remember when I was fresh out of college, I bought that ever so hopeful interview suit, only to realize that when I put it on I looked and felt nothing like myself when I wore it. The shoulders were too big. There were too many buttons. The edges were too sharp. In my mind, I looked like a stuffy old business woman.
In truth, it didn’t fit me, both because it wasn’t tailored and because a boring, black, blazer and matching pants wasn’t my personality and didn’t match where I was in my life. Still, I couldn’t fight the perception in my mind of what “professionalism” meant. Particularly because I often found myself in workplaces where I was by far the youngest employee, it was hard to balance a fresh and youthful style, with the “professional” style of those around me.
What I realized is that nothing makes a #millennial look more UN-professional than teetering around on high heels and wearing too-big blazers, and in general just not reflecting your own personal style. Look around to your fellow employees as a barometer for what’s acceptable and what’s not—then add your own twist! While there are a few non-negotiables when it comes to certain workplaces, there are plenty of things you can do to to make a professional style “fit” you.
Here are just 5 of them…
1. Mix and Match
This is basically a no brainer. Those matching blazers and pants or skirts? Break them up and put them with other blazers, cardigans or pants. Unless you work in a business professional environment, it’s totally acceptable to mix and match. Feel free to play with different textures and patterns because nothing says that you’re a #quarterlifer than being daring.
2. Don’t be afraid of a bold, statement piece.
A super chunky necklace? A colorful scarf or tie? Fun headband? Neon shoes? If the rest of your outfit is fairly tame, it’s easy so freshen it up with something bold. Plus, if it’s really eye-catching it’s a good conversation starter for people in the office.
3. Always wear something that you love and makes you feel comfortable.
You know that thing I said about mix and match? You can do that with styles and occasions too! If you’ve got a super sleek blazer and skirt combo, mix it with one of your plain and casual weekend tees and a fun necklace. For the guys, take those college polos and wear them under a suit jacket or sweater. Or, if you’ve got that slightly more fancy outfit that you bought for your friend’s wedding and only wore once, dress it down with a much-loved cardigan.
Having something that really feels “you” will put you at ease if you’re in an important meeting—like your secret reminder to yourself of all the cool things about you!
4. Find a good tailor
Literally make it fit! In this case, I’m going to have to say “Do as I say, not as I do.” Since starting a weight loss journey (33 lbs and counting) I am swimming in my clothes. Just last week I had to borrow a friend’s jeans after coming straight to her house from work because my pants had stretched out during the day too much to wear. I can only imagine how ridiculous and unprofessional I look looking like a business casual clown.
I probably could even save that dreaded blazer if I just brought it in and had it altered to be more fitted. Just do it.
5. Give yourself options
Get pieces that work in different situations, in different ways, and with each other to give yourself different combinations to fit your personal style. Let’s face it, for all intents and purposes, as #quarterlifers we’re still figuring ourselves out. Sometimes you feel like being uber-fancy New York power bitch, or the university professor, or the artsy hipster. Pick things that fit all of them. If you’re like me, it’s frustrating when you don’t have the correct costume for the occasion so by giving yourself options you can avoid the ever-dreaded feeling that you have “nothing to wear.” You can do this by A) getting a lot of options for yourself, by thift shopping or second hand shopping and/or B) Getting things that can function in different capacities. For me, I think about what the basics are for a good costume and how I can build out from there.
How do you keep your personal style alive in the work place?
“BlogTops” are weekly blog posts that myself, my good friend Dave, and hopefully you will join us in discussing topics that we feel the majority of millennials are dealing with or have dealt with in their lives. To keep it creative we pick one specific word for the weekly topic and then we are letting our imagination and creative writing take our blogs in whatever direction we so choose. It could be anything from generalizing the topic, to specific memories, to something serious, or funny. It’s anything goes! If you want to join along tag your posts with BlogTop on Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, etc. and we will be sure to promote your blogs on social media!