Dress For Success
In middle school I was the girl in graphic tees copying--well attempting to copy the looks of the Disney princess of my generation a.k.a Miley Cyrus, Raven Symone, Selena Gomez, and yes Kim Possible and Penny Proud because who doesn't love a good crop top and ponytail?
In high school I had to wear a Catholic school uniform (personalities weren't welcomed).
In college I began to explore what styles made me comfortable in my own skin as well as who I wanted to be. This was a process. I didn't wake up one morning and become someone who was super into fashion and knew how to pair different pieces together, so I started small. I wore shorts and t-shirts a lot, reminiscent of my middle school days, but would venture out every once in a while and see how I felt walking around campus in rompers and sundresses. By the time I graduated college I had more dresses in my closet than pants, knew that bras would always be my mortal enemy, and that nothing in life matters if my shoes aren't comfortable. My style consisted of mini-dresses, shorts with combat boots or booties, oversized sweaters, and shirts that didn't require a bra.
Then #Adulting happened and once again bras had to become a part of my life, and so did work attire. My first year out of college I had to figure out how to dress for work without feeling like bland and stifled of all emotions like I did in High School. While on different job interviews I paid close attention to what the women in the offices were wearing and made mental notes on how they brought their individuality into a space that can feel so confining, in terms of women's attire.
Some women wore bright colors or tons of florals. Others would wear simple outfits but have bold and edgy accessories. Others tended to dress in layers so they could adjust their individual wants to the environment around them. Somehow, all of these women were able to show aspects of their personalities without being dull, including the CEO's. It's important to note that different work environments have different qualifications for what's acceptable in a workplace and since graduating from University I have interned and temp-ed in more creative fields i.e. publishing, public relations, marketing, fashion brands. Therefore, some of the attire that I have admired may not work if you are dreaming of working in accounting or a law office but there are still ways to dress trendy and original even in offices that are a bit more conservative, here are some examples;
1. Don't Underestimate A Good Heel
Unlike schools, jobs tend to not have policies on foot attire, unless you work in management. A job might suggests that you wear comfortable shoes if your job description includes a lot of walking or standing but at the end of the day what you wear is up to you, so if you can walk in a nice pair of funky heels, then DO! Go for the shoe that has a clot of color or maybe a unique design and let that be the statement piece of your outfit.
2. Get the Right Fit
It's no longer required that women's work attire be loose fitting to make the men in the office feel comfortable (If that man can't handle the sight of shoulders or knee's it's HIS problem). Our clothes don't have to feel baggy as if we have to hid in them and that can make a huge difference. You can still wear conservative pieces that don't show off too much skin but making sure that it also fits correctly will stop you from feeling like someone's frumpy grandma and more like a sophisticated CEO
3. Jewelry! Jewelry! Jewelry!
Earrings, Necklaces, Rings ... Oh My! Jewelry is a great way to add some individuality to your wardrobe. Wear a ring with a skull, or a necklace bigger than your neck. It's completely up to you and no one can say anything as long as it is not harming anyone else. Jewelry can be a quick and cheap way to make an outfit feel more like YOU, so take advantage of this option and change it up every day.
4. It's All About The Hair
Lastly, change up your hair as much as you want. Your hair is another aspect about you that your bosses have no right to comment on. Wear it straight, curled, in braids, or not at all. This is probably the most time consuming suggestion on the list but it's worth it when you walk out the door and feel like the best version you. Hair is a big part of one's identity and you can say a lot with it (including not having any at all). try not to think about the time you spend on your hair as a tedious task, but if you can't then get yourself a wig and 'Wig Out' ;)
Wig's don't have the same stereotype that they used to and are a great demonstration of how one can use their hair to express themselves. Invest in some of your favorite styles, experiment with colors, and go to work in whatever version of you, you feel like being that day.
The best way to dress for success is to dress in a way that makes you feel happy with who you are in that moment. Just be you.