Injecting Your Own Personality Into Your Professional Wardrobe

BlogHer Original Post

One of the biggest challenges I faced when I got that brand spankin' new diploma over eight (gasp!) years ago was how to I transition my trend-lovin' sorority girl wardrobe into one that would work in an office. I mean, flared leggings and jean jackets (I know I wasn't the only one!) were great for strolling through the brickyard, but not so great when trying to look like the smart, hardworking 22 year old I was!

Suits and pearls were (are?) just so not me, but there are a couple of strategies I've learned over the years that help me navigate the sartorial waters of cubeland. Assuming you've invested in a few key basics (not basics like a tee shirt, but basics like a pencil skirt and a great pair of trousers and a few blouses), you can just apply the rule of opposites when it comes to putting together a look for the office.

Think "opposites attract" but for your outfit, not the tattooed guy on the motorcycle that would make your grandma cry that you saw last weekend. Stay away from him. We're talking clothes.

Start with a basic, non-offensive bottom to ground your look and then go from there. If you are dying to give the latest trendy floral blouse a whirl, go for it, but keep the rest of your outfit classic and polished with simple black pumps, a skinny black belt and pearl studs.

Likewise, if you're working with a classic blouse and basic trousers, use your accessories to inject some personality. Think fun earrings, funky pumps that will peek out from under your slacks, and a leopard belt (which is always a neutral in my book).

Basically, you want one thing to be the focus of your outfit, so the rest should fade away into the backdrop, while still helping you look pulled together and polished.

Now, when's that annual review?

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