Help! I'm starting a consulting job and am totally fashionless. I love wearing dresses to work, but are they "professional" enough without a jacket? Can you even wear a jacket over a dress?
What will I wear? Maybe you’ve just landed an interview for that dream job, or scheduled a big client presentation, or been asked to speak at an event. When you want to impress, how you’re going to dress is one of the first questions that comes to mind.
And that’s not a bad thing: attire in the workplace matters—a lot. One survey done back in 2005 found that a landslide 81% of employees believe a person’s work attire affects his or her professional image. So that body-hugging leopard print that Julia Roberts wore in Erin Brockovich? Probably not your best inspiration for workplace style. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to look the part.
The Return of Formal
So what to wear? These days, formal office attire is back on the rise. But not to worry—formal doesn’t have to mean boring! We love pencil skirts (which should come to jut above the knee) paired with a tasteful but fashionable blouse. Or go for a great summer dress.
And for instant polish on any classic outfit, add a pair of sheers. For classic simplicity, try a workplace staple like these classic sheers from Hanes, or go extra sheer with Calvin Klein Infinite Sheer. Stick to nude tones to avoid clashing with your outfit and distracting from an otherwise clean line.
Pantyhose—In The Summer?
When it’s hot and sticky out, it’s tempting to go with bare legs—but that can be tough to pull off in a conservative workplace. Look around at the other women in the office. Take your cues from those around you, and aim for the middle: you don’t want to be the only one with bare legs—but no need to be the only one without them, either!
A little secret: thigh-highs are a great way to ‘cheat’ during the summer, as long as the tops aren’t visible when you sit down. No one needs to know! Popular faves include Lace Tops from Hanes, or for stayups that go even higher up the leg, try Lace Top Hold Ups from Pretty Polly. Count on the Brits to go the extra mile! Again, nude tones are best for the summer, giving you that ‘barely there’ finish that’ll set off your look instead of competing with it. Check out Hoseanna’s website for a great selection of fun, but appropriate, legwear—auto-shipped to your door! (And check out The Daily Muse‘s exclusive discount above!)
Need some inspiration?
Who’s catching our eye this summer? For one, Marissa Mayer, Google’s first female engineer. Photogenic and fashionable—and fantastically successful—the youthful Google VP is an instant inspiration for women everywhere.
And then there’s Sunny Hostin, the only female managing director at Kroll’s New York firm and a regular commentator on CNN and Fox Business Network. Successfully balancing a professional image with a splash of femininity and personality, these are women (and wardrobes!) any corporate rookie can aspire to.