5 Things to Consider about Your Attire as You Re-enter the Workforce
It can be tricky to figure out what to wear if you have been out of the workforce for years, especially with how quickly fashion changes and trends evolve. To avoid the overwhelm, focus on these five essential tips:
Research the Workplace Culture.
Each workplace is different. I’ve worked in super-casual places that allow jeans every day. And places where jeans never see the light of day. Do your research on the work environment, ask questions when you interview, observe the others in the office place. If in doubt, dress up a little more than you think necessary. Always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.
Opt for Classic Pieces.
Whether you are buying new items for your closet or trying to revive older pieces, your best bet is to stick with the classics. A black suit. A white blouse. A gray shift dress. A navy structured blazer. Stay away from anything that was super trendy several years ago, or even something super trendy right now. For instance, right now a matching-patterned suit is all the rage. But that is likely to be something that won’t be trendy next year. So while you might like the look now, it will leave you looking dated if you need to keep it in rotation for years to come.
Consider Your Shoes.
My dad used to work in Human Resources and would always tell us kids that the first thing he looked at when a candidate walked in the room were her/his shoes. Were they polished? Did they look worn out? Were they professional in appearance? A classic black pump is usually the best option. If you can’t do a heel, simple leather flats is also a great option. Give them a little polish or a trip to the cobbler before starting your new job or heading to that interview.
Downplay the Accessories.
I like a bold statement earring. The bigger the better. But for the workplace, it’s better to downplay the accessories. While they make a great fashion statement, they can be a huge distraction. You don’t want a colleague, boss or client paying more attention to the colorful tassels hanging from your ears than the words you are saying. Go with simple, understated earrings, necklaces and bracelets. As you begin to find your footing and learn more about the office culture, you can slowly introduce a statement piece or two into your rotation.
Go with Comfort and Confidence.
I am a firm believer that the best dressed women are those who feel comfortable and confident in their attire. If you put on something that seems like the right thing to wear, but you are uncomfortable in it, look for something else. When we feel confident in the outfit we’re wearing that day, we smile more, we hold our heads up a little higher and we feel more comfortable in the space we occupy. If you find that you are constantly tugging, adjusting or fidgeting with your outfit, that is a clear indicator that it isn’t something you feel good in.
Katy Rose is a Chicago-based lifestyle blogger at Modly Chic. She has a love for feminine dresses, statement earrings and high heels.