Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lessons Learned Post-Grad // Dressing the Part

Welcome to May, everyone! Also, one of the busiest months for me since graduating a year ago. Right now, I'm in Baltimore for two work conferences, and I leave for Ireland/England on Friday.  While I'm away, I'll be doing a series of posts on how my first year of independent living has gone, broken down into a bunch of sections.  First up - dressing the part!

I'm lucky to work in an office where the dress code is fairly lax - jeans are fine on slow days, and I almost never have to wear blazers.  That being said, I'm the youngest person on my staff, but I never want that to be obvious.  For me, that means erring on the side of conservative.

When I graduated, I had a fairly good stock of dress clothes, but here's what I found indispensable -

My uniform tends to be basic bottoms (skirts or pants) and a brighter top or a simple dress with statement jewelry.  Since getting my job, I'm much more careful about buying clothes - nothing too revealing, nothing too tight or short.  I don't necessarily need everything in my wardrobe to be work appropriate, but I do also feel pretty good about moving away from short/tight/see through stuff, now that I'm out of my frat basement days...

And  my basic rules for getting dressed in the morning -

  1. Arms or legs out - never both  
  2. If I stand in front of the mirror and have even a little bit of doubt if something's appropriate, it's not
  3. I do not need to wear a suit to be taken seriously, but I do need to feel confident 
  4. 5 inch heels are notttttttt professional - keep it to 3 inches, and cover your toes unless its July/August
  5. Invest in the basics, but you do not need a 200 dollar pencil skirt - comfortable heels, well wearing suiting and blouses that don't scream Forever 21 are all you need
  6. Keep a sweater and an extra pair of shoes at your desk - the sweater cures spills/snags/surprising amounts of cleavage, extra shoes for when your feet hate you
You guys see what I wear every week in my Week in Review posts, so you see how I do it. There have been times where outfits that I thought would work get the ax, or moved to weekend-only options.  As I've cut down my wardrobe, I've also invested in pieces that make getting dressed in the morning fun, which makes professional dress less of a drag and more of a fashion show.

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