Professional Dress, A Much Needed Update!

Recently I was asked how I would dress if I were to attend a career related event, what I realized is what my answer to this questions was differed from many guidelines that can be found on the internet. As a young woman I have always found it difficult to enjoy what I wear when dressing professional and still letting my personality shine.

What They Tell Women to Wear

The descriptions below can be found on many sites in regards to professional dress.

Suits: Conservative neutral skirt suit or pant suit with the top and bottom matching
Shirt: Neutral or soft color to go under blazer
Shoes: Closed toed shoe or heel but no higher than 2 inches

Although I do believe these tips are a great place to start I believe if you know what professional wear looks good on your body type to not be afraid to spice it up a little bit.

What I Would Wear

With all the websites I was looking at that include similar descriptions to the ones above they all had a common theme, no bright colors. When I dug deeper into why they advised neutral colors it was that they believed if you were wearing bright colors that you would be remembered for your outfit and not your job qualifications. I call bluff on this aspect.

When going to career fairs that are hundreds of students talking to the same employers that you are talking to. I believe that wearing these bright colors helps you tremendously. When you are submerged into a sea of students wearing a bright color will help you stand out. If they are having trouble distinguishing students but they recall the one student with the coral blazer it will help them rack their brain to remember your name. The dress below can be found at Macy’s.

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(Photo Credit)

I also thought that always matching your blazer to your skirt or pants was also a bit ridiculous. Many professional outfits these days mismatching your blazer and skirt makes you in my opinion look very sharp and memorable and when looking for a job we always want to be remembered by the potential employer.

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(Photo Credit)

Next I want to address the shoes they said to wear. Whenever I see younger women wearing heels that are less than two inches I just can help but to think why don’t you just wear flats? Heels that are less than two inches in height I believe hurt you more than they help you. All my heels are a 4 inch heel, now that may seem high but that is a very standard height heel. These heels still look very professional and don’t make me look like I’m going out for a night on the town. I use my heels to help tie in any accent color I have brought into my attire or to tone down my attire when I have a strong color through my entire outfit.

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(Photo Credit)

If some women are still unsure on how to incorporate color with the pieces within their outfit I would suggest starting with your accessories. By doing this you can still keep the more traditional neutral color suits but still add in that pop of color that will allow part of your personality to shine.

Throughout the blog I have included many examples of outfits that I would wear to a career related event or to work in the professional sector. I believe that women shouldn’t be afraid to use bright colors to express themselves because fashion these days in the professional world is changing. In the past women may have tried to look more neutral to be more accepted in the professional world but I am confident in saying that does not need to continue if women don’t want it to. However, there are many trendy outfits that still have the neutral colors that are very fashionable so even though I have preached color in this post I still love my neutral suits as well, just with a little more flare than the other websites advise.

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(Photo Credit)

Some great places to find professional business attire can be found at places such as Dillard’s and Nordstrom. Please share your thoughts below on using colors in your professional dress.

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