Working Girl

Gennifer Rose is a fashion merchandising professional residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has BA in Business Marketing from Chico State and an AS in Fashion Merchandising from Cañada College. Her career has included roles such as a visual merchandising manager for a large department store in New York City to an assistant buyer for a large ecommerce retailer. Most recently she is the merchant for an online marketplace. She works freelance contributing to fashion blogs and online fashion forums.

As you graduate from college and prepare to enter the workforce, there will be some shifts in your daily life. You will no longer be rolling out of bed and throwing on sweats and a tee for an 8am class. Your wardrobe will most likely need an overhaul depending on what kind of work environment you will be in. Most office places have a business casual dress code, meaning no ripped denim and flip flops. This does not mean that need to look frumpy, office apparel has evolved much past the pant suit and blazers with shoulder pads.

Listed here are some key fashionable pieces for office attire that can be mixed and matched daily:

The blazer – throw it over a nice blouse for an instant polished look. Can be paired with dark denim and boots or thrown over a dress to complete an outfit.

The pencil skirt – a classic staple for the workplace but also very flattering to the figure. Pair with a blouse and low heels for a head to toe look.

The oxford button down – go preppy with this simple yet structured top. Can be worn with skirts or pants, preferably tucked in.

The silk blouse – adds a feminine touch to any ensemble yet does not show too much skin

Cropped trousers – swap your denim for a pair of these and your outfit is promptly upgraded and office ready

A common mistake I see in many recent female graduates is inappropriate office attire. The clothing you wore in your early college years or even high school are most likely not appropriate for the office. Spend a little more for nicely tailored pieces that fit well. The last thing you want is attention for the wrong reasons in the workplace.

Some key tips to remember:

Measure up – Make sure your clothes are the correct size and fit you well. You don’t want fabric clinging too tight or skin showing through. With that said, you also don’t want clothing too loose or baggy because it may be interpreted as sloppy.

Modesty matters – Cover up ladies, the workplace is not the time nor place to show skin. Common pitfalls are hemlines that are too short, exposed cleavage, bras or panty lines and bare back and shoulders.

Proper shoes – the shoes you wear to the club should not be the same shoes you wear in the office. If you chose to wear heels, go with a low to moderate height that you can comfortably walk in. Flats and oxfords are usually safe bets as long as they are presentable and in good condition.

Go natural– again, the makeup and jewelry you wear to the club should not be the same as you’d wear to the office. Keep your look natural with a pop of color if you wish. Express your individuality in subtle ways without being too loud.

If you are working in the fashion industry you must also be aware of what brands you are wearing. The clothing you put on your back is a personal endorsement for a brand and shows your loyalty. If you work for a brand or your company has affiliates, be sure you are properly representing your company i.e. don’t wear your competition’s clothing to work.

Looking the part for your new career is vital to your success. The way you dress and carry yourself are the determining factors for great first impressions. If you look the part it will provide you the confidence to feel the part and get the job done.

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