Dressing for the Job You Have …And Beyond

The photo shown here was created on Ployvore.

As an Indianapolis Personal Stylist and image consultant, I often give wardrobe advice to people from all walks of life. I have had the privilege of doing some presentations to corporate groups as well as giving individual coaching sessions for what to wear at the office.

It’s not as easy as it sounds because how we dress for work has changed so much. The tried and true formulas of reading “Dress for Success,” buying the Brooks Brothers suits and the very best Kasper suits we find in cities such as Indianapolis don’t seem to apply anymore. Many Indianapolis companies have casual dress days, business casual or 100 percent casual dress codes.

Many workers in our city don’t even travel to a real office in which to work — they walk from their morning breakfast in the kitchen at home to a desk in a nearby office. They may meet with others for meetings, but it certainly doesn’t happen every day. I am sure others who are image consultants find this to be true many times with clients. The world is certainly different.

Just recently, I noticed my husband was wearing jeans and not a really new sweater to work–he changed jobs and works downtown Indianapolis. This puzzled me since he told me his new company had a business casual dress code that did not include jeans. “What changed,” I asked? “We wear jeans all the time. Many people wear sweatshirts,” he said.

Eyebrows raised: I have to wonder…Do companies really want their employees to wear jeans and sweatshirts? What about when they go out to lunch or interact with the public — even if it’s just walking into the office.” I am taking a giant leap here, but I bet if most CEOs thought about it — they would say that this is not the image they want their company to project.

Now before you throw your ink pen at me — I am not suggesting jeans can’t look great in the office. But…one of the biggest myths people have when they follow a business casual or merely casual work dress code is that suddenly all the clothes they typically wear on their own time now qualify as “work wear.” Not true! The work uniform has changed, but it still exists. I suggest people buy different clothes for work — and often keep them for work.

Here are some ideas on how to look put together for the office, from your own Personal Stylist:

– Wear pressed, dark jeans or casual pants
– Wear a jacket such as a navy blazer, an olive cotton anorak or tweed blazer or other neutral options. Remember neutral colors are easy to forget, and you can wear them more in different ways.
– Wear blouses or shirts in neutral patterns such as olive, grey, blue, burgundy, cream, grey, hunter green or black. Subtle stripes or prints can look great and elevate the look.
– Wear the best quality shoes you can afford and keep them clean and polished.
– Avoid festival or party tops, Logo T-shirts or sweatshirts and clothes that reveal too much.
– Wear minimal jewelry, and ladies find some simple fine or bridge jewelry. Keep the casual, unusual jewelry for weekend events and Saturday brunch.
– Leave the snow boots and large parkas at home–a sleek, tailored coat will make you stand out from the crowd — even with your jeans and simple shirts, jackets and sweaters.

Keep it sassy, Indy.
Beth Divine Style
Indianapolis Personal Stylist

Disclaimer: The boards in this blog were created on Polyvore.