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Workplace Fashion Tips for the Fashion Clueless


Office environments have become more laid back over the last decade—even here in Central Indiana! Employees now are casually sharing funny pictures with colleagues over e-mail or messenger, working from home and, of course, sporting t-shirts, jeans and sneakers to work.

As one would expect, many in the corporate world have fully embraced the casual dress code with open arms — but the question remains: can you still look like a professional dressing casually? Maybe not professional in the traditional sense, but in my experience as a young professional, it boils down to looking presentable.

Here are some tips for the fashion clueless.

Casual Business Clothes
© Flickr User wearesocial

Double Check! Make Sure Everything Fits Properly

To give an idea of what I mean by “making sure your clothes fit properly,” allow me to tell you an embarrassing story. (And yes, this happened recently — but I won’t say what job this was at. You can figure that out for yourself!).

Working in marketing tech, I’ve always been given the privilege to wear my weird cartoon and cat shirts to the office (and I still do). None of my shirts have ever been considered too vulgar or weird in any way, but unbeknownst to me not too long ago, there was something wrong with one of my new shirts.

It was during one fine afternoon that a higher-up had called me into their office to tell me that my blouse was apparently “too sheer.” At first I was confused, but upon running into the bathroom and viewing the shirt in a certain light, my face turn beet red and I ran over to my desk to throw on a jacket. I wasn’t in trouble at all (they even knew I was unaware), but it was super embarrassing. Needless to say, I wear an undershirt when I wear that blouse.

Moral of the story? Double check how your clothes actually look and how they fit. If you even think there might be an issue with your clothes, don’t wear them. Too tight? Don’t wear it? Too sheer? Cover it up with a sweater. Too baggy? Wear a belt. Casual doesn’t equal unkempt.

Hair, Makeup & Piercings Shouldn’t Be Too Outrageous

Hair, makeup and piercings are a bit of a tricky area because the marketing tech world is filled with all sorts of cool and funky individuals. In fact, individuality is embraced and celebrated! Although the concept of sporting neon blue hair and hot pink lipstick seems really cool (and your colleagues think it’s cool), it might be a little overwhelming for your clients. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you should dress a certain way if you’re in certain situations. For example: If you’re a client success manager dealing with a multi-million dollar contract, and your client is a little more conservative in the way they dress, they might take you as seriously.

Piercing at Work
© Flickr User aribakker

Now, you might be saying to yourself “That’s not really fair. I’m smart. I’m good at my job. I should be able to dress however I want, right?” Technically, yes… But sadly, the folks paying you or your company those millions of dollars might not think that way — and that’s just one of many clients keeping your company successful!

Again, this doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself entirely. Instead of going all out and dying your hair full-on blue, green or pink, why not add little streaks of color? Temporary streaks are ideal, but if they’re permanent, they’re different enough to be eye-catching while not being too distracting. As far as makeup and piercings go, lower the volume. If you have a nosering, maybe opt for a small stud (the same goes for other piercings). If you want to wear a bright shade of makeup, focus on on either your lips or eyes so it isn’t too much.

Express Yourself! But Remember That You’ll Be Remembered

The corporate lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I’ve learned time and time again that it isn’t difficult to express yourself. Being a professional requires you to conform in some ways, but it rarely means you can’t be comfortable and happy with who you are as an individual. Expressing yourself in the professional environment simply means dialing it back a bit. After all, it isn’t like you’re no longer the same person when you leave the job. You’re still you!

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About the Blogger: Felicia Savage is a Digital Media Marketing Associate at PERQ, a marketing technology and promotions company based in Indianapolis. When she blogging and researching content, Felicia enjoys drawing, watching cartoons and looking up stupid cat videos, Check out or follow her on Twitter (@KittyHasFleaz.) to learn more about her!


Tue, October 21 2014 » Corporate Culture

2 Responses

  1. B. M. January 20 2015 @ 3:48 pm

    It's a funny thin having to dress up for someone, but I've always been a believer in dressing for the occasion. Be yourself in the weekend and do your best to dress according to the culture of where you spend your weekdays.

    It pains me to say it, but being yourself can make clients uncomfortable and that's not good at all.

  2. Julie McClurg February 4 2015 @ 8:28 am

    Having quality education gives you the freedom of choosing the best as career for yourself.

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