For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I served as the Design Chair for Collegiate Women in Business at my university for the 2017-2018 academic year. This has been such an empowering opportunity to grow my professional skills and connect with successful, motivated and inspiring women. I am so proud to announce that this coming 2018-2019 academic year, I will be serving as the CMO for Collegiate Women in Business.
Although I am so incredibly excited for this opportunity, I’m also super nervous. The previous CMO is graduating this spring and added so much value to this organization, so I have some big shoes to fill.
One thing that helps with the nerves of taking on a new professional role is looking the part. Look the part, feel the part, right? However, I know I’m not the only one out there that struggles with decoding business dress code.
Business professional is by far my favorite look; there is nothing that makes me feel more motivated and powerful. However, I definitely struggled to find the perfect suit because I am extremely picky about fit. For business apparel, the fit is everything. This doesn’t mean everything has to be perfectly tailored to your body, but it does mean that you’ll probably have to try out different brands and styles until you find your perfect fit. Thankfully with brands like Loft, H&M and Target, you can have multiple looks for under $200.
Tips & Tricks:
- Keep your hair out of your eyes. Recruiters who have spoken to our organization in the past have mentioned how distracting it is to talk with students who won’t stop fidgeting with their hair. I am prone to this when I’m super nervous so I almost always wear my hair half-up so I’m not tempted to mess with it. These J. Crew clips are my go-to for long hair!
- Be conservative, now is NOT the time to accidentally show off your brand new Victoria Secret bra or see how high your skirt rides up when you walk up the stairs. Modesty is key. I’ve read through multiple sources that women who dress less conservative in the workplace are viewed as less competent. I’m not saying that’s right; however, I am saying we deserve a seat at the table, so we should dress like it!
- Minimal jewelry. Chunky or flashy jewelry is best to avoid. Opt instead for a watch, simple studs and rings, or pendant necklaces. I personally wear my David Yurman Petite Albion ring and dainty sterling silver rings from China Town every day.
- Heels: If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them. It is a pretty safe rule of thumb that if you can’t walk in your heels, you shouldn’t wear them. Not only will your feet be killing you by the end of the event or day, but you also don’t want to be that person struggling to walk. Flats (Tory Burch, Cole Haan, and Me Too) or kitten heels are always an acceptable option. However, if heels are your style I’m very partial to Cole Haan black patent leather heels (similar style under $30).
Where to Shop:
Like I mentioned above, the answer to the question of where to shop might be different for everyone based on your budget, size and quality preference. However, there are some places that stand out as being the best for affordable pieces.
Loft — My closet is basically a Loft store because if you’re petite like me, it is one of the only places I can find clothes. Loft offers two different fits when it comes to pants: the Marisa or the Julie. My advice is to go and try on both fits to know what works best for you. If you don’t have a store near you, this article is super helpful. Loft also have a ton of blouses, sweaters and accessories to choose from.
H&M — H&M is the best place to go for blazers. All of my blazers have been from them, and every single time I am impressed with the quality. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever paid over $40 for a blazer.
J. Crew Factory — J. Crew Factory is also a great place to go for blazers, blouses and sweaters. I’ve had my eye on this Open Front Sweater Blazer for a while now; the only real question is do I chose oatmeal, charcoal or navy?
Have you struggled in the past decoding business professional dress code?