Business professional is notoriously one of those attires with little to no room for personality. True business professional requires a navy, gray, or black suit. Pants and a blazer, skirt and a blazer, dress and a blazer.
Basically you have a total of nine possibilities. An entire category of clothing for nine options. WTF.
So you’re probably sitting there, saying to yourself “yeah, Amanda… this isn’t news. Why the F are you talking about business professional attire?”
Weeeeeelllllll drumroll please….
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What I’m Wearing:
Blouse: Ann Taylor, old (similar, similar) / Skirt: Ann Taylor (+ matching blazer) / Purse: Sole Society
Earrings: Purchased in China (identical pair here) / Bracelet: Purchased in China (identical one here)
Heels: Ann Taylor, old (similar, similar, similar) / Rings: BaubleBar
Today is my first day of my summer internship! I’ll be working in management consulting for the next 10 weeks (still going back for year two of my MBA this fall). I received my offer back in January and it has been killing me not telling y’all since this is obviously a huge deal in my life. I’m really really excited to be with this company (it was the #1 company I wanted to work for this summer!) and I think it will be an amazing learning opportunity.
Plus… honestly… I kind of miss the routine of working. And the whole having-a-steady-income thing.
Though my company requires only “smart casual” attire, when I’m on client sites I’ll need to be dressed in either business professional (business formal) or in business casual. My biggest gripe with dressing this way is the lack of personality. It can be so difficult to have your personality shine through your wardrobe when you’re all buttoned up and trying desperately to make a good impression. Which brought me to the question: how exactly do you dress like yourself in business professional?
For instance, my personality is very playful. And loud. Like… really loud. I always gravitate towards über feminine details, colorful outfits, and over-the-top jewelry. Kind of difficult to do when wearing a fitted, neutral-colored suit.
My solution? Bows everywhere. Bow purse, bow shoes… heck, sometimes I’ll even wear a bow headband or bow earrings too. Or maybe I’ll wear some printed pumps or colorful shoes to balance out the neutral appearance of everything above the ankle. I consider business attire to be essentially a blank canvas: it’s just waiting for a statement necklace or fun accessories.
What to Avoid
One thing to keep in mind is that you must have the dressiness of your accessories match the level of dressiness of your outfit. The point of business attire is to make a good first impression, so you want to wear something as universally pleasing as possible.
When wearing business attire, it is not the occasion to bring out the brightly-colored, tasseled earrings (gosh, I wish). I have no real opinion on printed shoes (not even leopard print – totally up to you!), but I do think that it’s best to wear either a heel or a flat; no mules (especially not in business professional) and definitely no flip-flops.
I feel like that last one should really go without saying.
What’s Fair Game
So how exactly do you dress like yourself in business professional? Well, that depends on what “dressing like you” means to you!
But maybe you’re kind of like me. You love color and it’s killing you wearing only one or two neutral colors on a daily basis. Pearls make you happy, but you feel like you’ll lose your mind if you have to wear pearls every single day for the rest of forever. So why not mix it up a bit in the accessories department?
One day wear some little colorful earrings to brighten your day. The next, some neutral statement earrings paired with an eye-catching ring. Add a few statement necklaces to your rotation (this one‘s a bit wacky but would still be perfect for business attire!).
So tell me: how do you dress like yourself in business professional? Let me know your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below!