It’s not always easy getting dressed for work, especially since dress codes are starting to trend more towards casual than professional. You used to wake up, put on a suit or dress (and stockings of course!), and head out the door.
Now, it’s much more complicated.
What does business casual mean? How can I wear jeans without looking sloppy?
The answers to these questions aren’t simple and can’t be contained in just one blog post. However, I hope to provide you some ideas and insight that will make your morning ‘getting ready for work’ routine a little bit better.
Ps. All outfit pictures are from pinterest and can be found here.
Keeping your work wardrobe to just neutral colors with one or two signature colors makes dressing easy AND it looks sophisticated. I call that a win-win.
You can never go wrong with a button down blouse and a pair of pants. Tuck in the shirt and add a belt for a professional look.
Tip #1: Know your dress code. Every company has their own dress code. If you don’t know the dress code for your workplace, ask your Human Resources professional. This will help provide a clear yes and no to what you can and can’t wear.
Jackets make everything look more polished- and are a must on jean Fridays (they balance out the informality of jeans and still keep you looking like the pro you are).
Tip #2: Know what looks good on your body shape. If you are a pear shape (have wider hips/booty and a smaller bust/shoulder area) then you will tend to look better in darker bottoms. Knowing what flatters your body shape will help make shopping and putting outfits together easier. Find out your body shape and how to dress for it here.
Invest in a few dresses that are flattering and professional. I have found that Calvin Klein (available at most department stores) dresses look great on most body shapes. They are also easy to wear with heels (if you want to dress things up) or flats (for a more casual look).
Tip #3: I get dressed in under 3 minutes every day. How? I have a special formula I use that is now second nature to me. By mentally going through the formula when I get ready, I don’t have to think twice about what I’m doing (which is good, because there’s only so much thinking I’m capable of that early in the morning!) Keep scrolling to get the free webinar and start saving time in the mornings.
What’s the hardest part about picking out work outfits for you? Comment below and I’ll write a blog post about it!
If you’re anything like me, your instagram feed is clogged with intimate ads from what feels like a new company each day who is trying to claim a piece of the 11 billion dollar intimate industry pie (according to Transperancy Market Research).
For years, it was really just Victoria’s Secret and department stores. Now, there’s Adore me, Lively, ThirdLove, True & Co., and HarperWilde just to name a few.
These are mostly online based companies which means you can’t actually try the undergarments on…which leaves me wondering: Can these companies lure in new buyers with only claims like, “the most comfortable bra you’ll ever own” and “a better fitting brat- no measuring required”?
Curious, I decided to see for myself. I purchased comparable bras from two of the biggest new online intimate retailers: ThirdLove and Lively.
Here’s my official review.
ThirdLove (yes, technically it’s all one word)
I chose ThirdLove because they were the brand that I kept seeing the most often. I can’t even imagine how much money they have spent on everything from ads to free bras for Instagram influencers. So, I decided to drink the Kool-aid and see if the products really lived up to the hype.
The claim: “Insanely comfortable bras, designed to fit perfectly”. They cater to all different sizes and shapes.
What I bought: I took the fit quiz and was recommended the 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra. I was looking for a classic t-shirt bra, so they pretty much nailed that.
Shipping: I paid $4.99 for shipping. I received a shipping confirmation the same day I ordered and received the package a few days later.
Pros: This is probably the only bra that’s actually really fit- thanks to the half sizing. In most B cups, there’s just a little bit of room. This little pocket of air isn’t visible with most bras, but you can feel it if you push down on the cup of the bra. Now granted, no one is actually poking my bra and would know or care, but it’s worth noting. The ThirdLove bra is the first bra I’ve worn that’s literally flush with my skin. Another huge plus is that this bra comes in 9 different skin tone colors as opposed to Lively’s 3 (two of which I will argue could actually be skin tones).
Cons: This bra wasn’t cheap. I think it’s reasonably priced for a well-fitting everyday bra, but it still seems expensive when compared to companies like Lively.
Meh: The straps aren’t flat, so I have to be careful about wearing tight-fitting clothing or the little ridges will show through. I’ve never had a problem with straps falling down, so I can’t really say ThirdLove is any better or worse than other bra brands. I’m also not sure I would call it the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn. It is comfortable for an underwire bra, but I’m not exactly forgetting its presence.
Total Cost: The bra was $68. After the $4.99 shipping, the total was $72.
ThirdLove was the obvious first choice of brand to compare (because of all the advertising dollars they spend) but the second choice was harder. There were several other companies I could have chosen like True&Co. or Adore Me. In the end, I chose Lively because True&Co’s staple bra is so fugly I can’t even and Lively was more popular than Adore Me (thus probably more helpful to you).
Shipping: Unlike ThirdLove, shipping was free, but the order also took about a week to arrive. It was the perfect Catch 22 for a millennial addicted to Amazon Prime and free two-day shipping: should I pay more and have it ship sooner or pay nothing and have it ship later?
Pros: I didn’t think that ThirdLove was priced badly until I realized that I could buy two Lively bras for less than one ThirdLove bra. Also- I’m the type of person that likes pretty underwear, even if I’m the only one that’s going to see it. With that said, I really appreciated the subtle pretty details on the Lively bras. I also liked that it was everything I needed and nothing more (but wasn’t totally hideous).
Cons: You remember that little gap I mentioned in the ThirdLove review? It totally exists with the Lively bras because I went up to a B instead of going down to an A. If I decide to buy another bra, I may see what the difference is between an A and B cup fit. This gap doesn’t bother me (note: the top of the bra isn’t gaping- hence why you can’t see it unless you touch it) but I am listing it as a con. Also- Lively offers fewer skin tone colors than ThirdLove. The bra I bought only came in almond (aka: general pale white person), grey (hopefully no one’s skin tone), and jet black (dark African skin tone).
Total Cost: Two bras came at a discount of $27.50 a piece. Because I didn’t pay shipping, my total was a flat $55 for both bras. Looking back now, I also think I had a $10 off coupon as the price is usually 2 bras for $60.
The Final Result?
I would recommend ThirdLove if you have a hard to fit size or are looking for any skin color past average white girl and Lively if you need a great bra at a good price. Overall, I think Lively wins (for me!) because it offers a greater selection of bras, is reasonably priced, and is equally comfortable to its competitors. These factors, for me, outweigh a little longer shipping time and a slight gap in the cup fit. I’m glad I bought both brands, however, and I get good use out of all the bras I purchased!
Then there’s the honorable mention that I didn’t even expect: the second Lively bra I bought. It was the All Day Deep V No Underwire situation and you want to talk about comfortable…oh mah geees. Now that is a bra I could wear everyday. It has just the right amount of structure, support, and lack of wire that is the perfect mix between comfort and professional.
Have you tried ThirdLove or Lively? Share your opinions below!
Apples will look best with their long cardigan unbelted and open. Resist the urge to close up the cardigan as it will actually make you look taller and skinnier when you can see the rest of your outfit under the cardigan.
A baggy cardigan can hide your curves and make you appear larger than you are. For that reason, opt for more fitted options. If you can’t find a more fitted cardigan, try adding a belt to your outfit or looking for sheer cardigans. Either option will keep you from looking like a blob.
The most important thing for pears to watch out for are cardigans that end at the widest part of the hips. This will make your hips/booty area appear bigger. Instead, choose a cardigan that is shorter or longer.
Plus: Choose your cardigan based on your body shape (above!) Need help finding clothes that fit your figure? Check out this post.
Tall: Long cardigans were made for you. Choose the one that works best for your body shape. Looking for clothes that are just for Tall people? You need to read this post.
Petite: Long cardigans don’t have to make you look short. Opt for a neutral color cardigan that is different than the color of the rest of your outfit underneath to make you appear taller (like the picture below!) Not sure where to find petite sized cardigans? Check out this blog post.
Why is it that we feel style and comfort are mutually exclusive?
When I put on ‘comfy clothes’ they usually consist of cashmere sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirt. Meanwhile, stylish clothes may involve heels and a dress.
That’s probably what a lot of people think…and they wouldn’t be wrong.
But what happened to all the middle ground?
Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too? Of course. Here’s how:
Stop thinking of comfy and stylish as opposite ends of the same spectrum.
Instead, think of them as two overlapping spectra. Some clothes may be a little comfortable and a lot stylish and others may be really comfortable and really stylish. It’s like diet food tasting terrible. Sure, some diet food isn’t good, but not all diet food tastes terrible. Once you grasp that, you will have an easier time with your diet. Likewise, once you understand that comfy and stylish are not mutually exclusive you will have an easier time dressing for comfort.
Choose your clothes wisely
Think for a minute about your comfort needs. Are you on your feet a lot and need comfortable shoes? Do you have sensitive skin and like specific fabrics? Maybe you like how certain clothes like yoga pants and sweatshirts ‘compress and conceal’ certain parts of your body you don’t like. Whatever it is, find your main comfort needs. Now, (here’s the important part) when you go shopping- remember those needs! If you have bad feet, don’t buy 4-inch heels. Buy cute riding boots with a comfy insole. If you love the feel of yoga pants, buy dress pants and jeans with stretch in them. This is especially important for the basics that make up your closet. (Click here to see the 20 essential basics every woman needs). Since you wear these items on a daily basis, the more in tune they are to your comfort needs, the more likely you are to wear them.
Organize your closet accordingly
I make a specific point of giving lounge clothes their own special spot in my closet. Likewise, workout clothes have their special spot. And it’s worth noting- that both of those spots are separated from work and casual ‘outside the house’ clothing. I even separate my t-shirts. My workout t-shirts are on a different side than my cute fashion t-shirts. The point is: by physically separating (and labeling if you can) your house clothes and your gym clothes you won’t be tempted to wear them to the grocery store or work. AND, if you’ve done the previous point correctly, your work clothes will fulfil your comfy needs and you won’t be as tempted in the first place.
I want to know:
What’s your biggest road block to dressing well? Let me know in the comments.
I was sitting at lunch yesterday when my dining partner said something I’ve heard several times: “I feel like young employees have no idea what is appropriate and what isn’t in terms of workplace dress.”
Usually, when this comes up, friends and acquaintances will then go on to recount their own personal experiences of fashion faux pas, ranging from barefoot interns to visible tramp stamps on new hires. And lastly, this is the part I found most interesting, they always follow it up with self-blame.
“Maybe I’m not being open enough, but I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
Maybe I’m just old fashioned and these things are acceptable now.”
It wasn’t just my polished and very professional lunch buddy the other day who has relayed these thoughts to me. I hear it all the time, usually from middle-aged or older women who hold very good positions within their companies. So what’s going on here?
Appropriate work dress in the 1940’s. If not much has changed in the last 75 years, then I guarantee things like tattoos, piercings, and athletic wear are not making an office debut anytime soon.
For one, it has nothing to do with you not being ‘open enough’ so stop blaming yourself.
Appropriate workplace attire hasn’t changed that much in the past several decades and it’s probably not going to change that much in the near future. Sure, trends and silhouettes change, but shoulder pads are not the same as neck tattoos. If you work in a corporate setting, the biggest sartorial change in the last 50 years is that it is more acceptable to not wear panty hose.
That’s pretty much it.
Even though miniskirts were big in the 60’s or tube tops ruled the 90’s, you still didn’t see these trends infiltrating the corporate workplace.
Likewise, tattoos, sneakers, and multiple piercings may be acceptable in society, but that doesn’t mean they belong in a board room. We need to learn to segregate and compartmentalize what is acceptable in the workplace and what is acceptable in public in general.
Should you scowl and shake your finger at every neck tattoo you see? No, that would be rude.
Should you say something if you see that same neck tattoo in your corporate office? Yes, because the reputation of the company, and not just the individual, is now on the line.
Which leads us to the next point- how to deal with inappropriate dress at work.
First of all, your workplace should have an up to date dress code. No matter how small your business is, having a policy in place when it comes to dress will help make confrontations smoother and more objective. Without a dress code, you will look like you are picking on people and critiquing them for their personal style.
With a policy, you simply need to state what the company has defined as appropriate and ask the employee to stay within those bounds. Another key part, is to make sure your dress code is up to date. It may have been utterly unfathomable that anyone would come to work in a halter top fifty years ago when your dress code was first written. If you don’t make changes to update your policy, then you run the risk of having interns who think it’s okay to trod around the office barefoot. There are plenty of sample dress codes you can find online and make you own. If you’re business is bigger, you can always call upon an Image Consulting professional to help you draft an effective dress code for your company.
Side note: If you’re reading this wondering how you can dress better for work…this is my best advice: start with basics that are work friendly. When your basics are appropriate for work, everything else will fall into place. Not sure what basics I’m talking about? See my top 20 basics every woman needs here.
When you see inappropriate dress in the workplace, do something! If the person in question is not your direct report, contact their supervisor or human resources about your concerns. As I mentioned before, each employee not only represents themselves, but the company as a whole.
In the most basic sense, when you are hired on with a company, they are paying you to carry out their values and beliefs.
If you get hired as a barista at Starbucks, you are being paid to carry out their values of great coffee to the masses. If you are hired as the CEO of Google, you are being paid to advance the mission of Google at the top most level. It’s easy to forget that we are here for the employer rather than the employer being here for us. If our appearance doesn’t line up with the values we’re supposed to be representing, then something needs to change. If you don’t stand up against improper image in the workplace, the reputation of your organization might be at stake.
If reading this makes you upset, don’t get all huffy and start ranting about stifling creativity and identity. Instead, find a company whose culture matches your values. If you feel taking your nose ring out compromises who you are, then don’t apply for a job at a large business consulting firm. Find a more boutique consulting firm that values individuality. You’ll be a better employee, a better representative of the company, and won’t get any judgmental looks from co-workers.
If you are a business struggling with inappropriately dressed employees, a new employee trying to make a good impression, or a company that needs a new dress code, I can help! Whether you’re the employer or employee, I’d love to hear the problems you or your company is facing and help you work towards a solution. Just send an email to: email@example.com to start the conversation.
It feels like only a few months ago that I was writing a blog post on how to dress in hot weather.
I live in Northeast Georgia where the humidity combines with high temperatures in the summer to create a sort of permanent outdoor steam room. In the winter, though, we may dip down to freezing a few times and scatter some snowflakes every three years for the fun of it.
I feel incredibly lucky that I don’t live somewhere cold currently, but seen that side of the weather spectrum too.
Surviving in negative 40-degree weather in Upstate New York is one thing. Looking fashionable in said icebox is a whole other thing.
I’ve had the privilege of living everywhere from New York to Arizona and quite a few places in between (helloooo Iowa!) Most of these places were cold as an iceberg during the winter and, much against my will, this Georgia girl learned how to dress for the winter- and dress well.
Here are the top tips I learned from working in the fashion industry in unbearably cold places:
1. Just one coat won’t cut it
Living in the South, you can get away with having one or two coats: one navy peacoat for casual settings and/or a fitted black coat for more formal affairs. Try having two coats somewhere cold and it’s like bringing one bathing suit on a three-month cruise. Outerwear is basically innerwear. I know innerwear isn’t a word, but you get the idea. You basically need almost as many coats and bulky sweaters. Your new innerwear outerwear isn’t just keeping you warm, it’s a vital part of your outfit.
Coats are a lot like shoes- you need a basic black pair, a practical pair, a fun pair, a serious pair…you get the idea. If you find coats to be rather boring, you’re in luck. This year is all about the statement coat…and they are everywhere at all price points. I recommend splurging on your daily classic pieces (psst. here are 20 classic pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe) and then spending less on a few fun statement coats like these:
2. Hosiery isn’t dead
Sometimes I feel like the only millennial that wears hosiery, but I’m totally okay with that. Why? Because my legs are way warmer than your legs. Seriously though. Don’t underestimate the magic of tights. Most tights these days are quite comfortable and they can add a little extra to any outfit. You’d be surprised how much warmer a pair of strategically layered tights (think: under your jeans!) is than your normal work ensemble. Here are some of my favorite outfits styled with tights.
3. Choose your fabrics wisely
Here’s something fun to think about: One wool sweater can be warmer than 2 cotton ones. Why? The nature of the fabric. Different fabrics are better (or worse) at helping your body regulate it’s temperature and stay warm. In the hot weather blog post, I wrote about which fabrics work best for hot weather…this time the tables are turned. Here are the best fabrics for staying warm:
4. Layer away!
I’m not going to lie, layering is tricky. Sloppy layering can make you look like a homeless vagabond while strategic layering can make you look like an Olsen twin. What’s worse is that layering is essential especially in today’s workplace. In the overly temperature controlled boxes we work in, the office may feel like Bermuda while it’s blizzarding just outside the window. How does one even begin to dress for that sort of situation…let alone dress well? The answer is layering. Being able to peel off layers and still look work appropriate (and fashionable!) is a skill that anyone can master. Here’s a whole blog post on my magic formula for creating the perfect layers.