By Robyn Dutton
Who, what, wear? The last question, being the most important, is the century long debate of women everywhere … “But what will I wear?” Long gone are the days where you can show up to class in sweatpants, pajamas or yoga pants. As a member of the workforce, you will be required to dress appropriately for the office, meetings and gatherings. As a 20-something or 30-something, you will also probably find there will be no less than five engagements on every major holiday this year, and you will probably have to find a new dress for some upcoming nuptials. Whatever the occasion and whoever may be attending, we want to make sure you’re always on cue.
Some general tips to start off with … if you have poor eyesight, invest in a good pair of glasses that fit your face and make you look sophisticated. Tom Ford has incredible glasses and although they are pricey, your insurance may cover a portion of it. For women, the little things are the big things, so keep your hair tidy and your nails groomed. They will be noticed and I bet you’ll also feel like a million bucks in doing so. No one likes wearing four inch heels and no one likes to see you failing to walk in them either. For the men, get creative with your socks, you can wear funky colors and patterns, but make sure they are the appropriate length. Never wear ankle socks with dress pants.
When it comes to dressing for work, know your audience. The dress code varies vastly depending on whether you work at a law firm, Google or a startup. If you aren’t sure, ask your hiring manager before your first day. You may find yourself in business formal, business casual or causal. Business formal means you should wear some version of a suit – a skirt suit or pant suit where the top and bottom should match and be dark in color. Business casual means you can wear dress pants or a skirt with a blouse or button down top. The colors can vary and you can get a little more creative to add personal flare. Casual is probably the one that most people are familiar with. It can include jeans, sweaters and sneakers even, this is your chance to be comfortable and showcase your personality.
Be prepared for when your friend says, “I do.” If you open the invitation and it says, “White Tie” – get out your nicest outfit that you saved for having tea with the queen. This is your opportunity to wear it, since the queen isn’t knocking down your door anytime soon. Ladies, that means floor length gowns and for men, a tuxedo with white shirt, white vest and white bow tie. “Black Tie” on the other hand, as you can probably put two and two together, means almost the same thing except men can wear a black bow tie. “Formal” or “Black Tie Optional” offers a little bit of breathing room, with ladies opting for a cocktail dress and men repping a formal dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie. “Semiformal” means a dressy skirt and top or cocktail dress for women and a light or dark suit for men. “Casual”- my favorite one – implies the event will be laid-back and most likely held on the beach or an outdoor location, men can wear dress pants with a button-down shirt and women can toss on their favorite sundress with wedges or sandals.
Now that you’re set for all major occasions, hit the mall and pick quality over quantity. If your outfit feels risky, it most likely is, so stick with items that make you feel confident and comfortable. Remember, as Bianca Frazier once said, “Dress how you want to be addressed.”