When our true style is in conflict with professional work attire
(as seen in the April edition of Sassy Magazine)
Have you ever considered how your 2 world are so vastly different? Your work world and your LIFE? For over 70% of us, that means we work full-time and have kids. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130510.htm We spend an average of 10 hours a day, every day, working and attending to tasks. http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/ In other words 10 hours a day not sleeping, being with our family and friends; 70 hours a week.
Now let’s think about what most of us sassy working mom’s do for a living. What kinds of clothing we are required to wear for work. For most of us that look is a traditional professional style. The disconnect is considering what kinds of clothing we like, that we choose to wear when we are living our lives, looks much different than the attire we wear to work.
Consider your Style Personality, the clothing you wear is a direct reflection of who you are; your personality. You feel the most beautiful, confident and the most like your TRUE SELF when you wear a great outfit that reflects who you are. The conflict comes when we spend 70 hours a week (some weeks more!) in our career wardrobe that doesn’t look anything like our real Style Personality.
Think about it this way; it can feel like for 8+ hours a day you are wearing someone else’s clothes. They aren’t they colors you like or the style you like. You can’t wait to get home and change clothes. The instant you are able to pull on your favorite jeans and that amazing top you feel like you can take a breath. Your mood shifts from subtle annoyance to happy go-lucky I CAN TAKE ONE THE WORLD!
As a certified Stylist and Image Consultant, I encourage my clients to see their wardrobes as one complete thing. I don’t believe in creating a “work wardrobe” and a “Life wardrobe”. That is a very expensive wardrobe plan and as working Moms, we need to get the most out of the budget we set aside for ourselves.
According to Michelle, a high level marketing executive for a large bank, “For years I found I was altering the real me at work; I was trying to be who I thought my colleagues and clients wanted me to be. I need to be rather conservative with my attire at work, and I took that general apparel direction to the ‘nth degree. With my friends and family I am the life of the party. At work, I was feeling dull and lifeless. This conflict caused a lot of tension with my career. I noticed it and so did my co-workers and boss. I gave myself permission to infuse some of myself real self into my professional world. One of those steps was with my wardrobe. I began to see I was making professional gains I didn’t think was possible. I know this is because my confidence level increased because I was being myself, not trying to be someone else.”No More White Blouses and Suits! Perhaps the most un-creative professional look is the navy (or black) suit with a white blouse. Make a stand against the professional look everyone has. NO MORE WHITE BLOUSES! Add color and pattern to the great tailored suit. The blouse you love to wear in the summer with shorts and capris can work with your power suit. Don’t shy away from tucking it in and adding a bold belt (with the skirt, under the jacket).
Un-Suit your suit. Who said you HAVE to wear that jacket with that skirt? Who wrote the fashion law that says “you can only wear a suit as a suit, you shant ever wear the pieces separately!” The answer? No-one! Mix things up: khaki suit jacket with black suit pants, a leather suit jacket with the pencil skirt from your power suit, make cardigans your new go-to jacket. If your workplace will allow, infuse some denim with your suiting pieces. What could be more office-chic than a smartly tailored denim shirt with a pin stripe suit? Or perhaps your favorite jean jacket with a pair of trousers and silk blouse.
Permission to buy new shoes. Yes, I am giving you permission to go shoe shipping. You are welcome. Adding some of your Style Personality into your professional wardrobe with shoes (or any accessories) can turn a forgettable drab suit into a memorable ensemble. Think about it; a great pin stripe suit with an Ahhhhh-mazing pair of bright red stilettos with a silver spiked heel. Not your style? What about that suit with a zebra print kitten heel? Get away from being matchy-matchy with your shoes and your outfits. Try new combinations. Start your “what to wear today” internal conversation with “I will wear these shoes today with…”
Tailoring. For many of us, it can be hard to get rid of things in our closets we have invested in. Suits can be at the top of the list. If the style is one that was in-vogue years ago it needs a little revamp. Consider shortening the skirt, take the sleeves of the jacket to ¾, give trousers a new silhouette - a peg leg, add an interesting gathered detail at the back of the jacket.
Cocktails at work? Did I just hear thousands of women all over Michiana yell “yes, PLEASE!” Well….I am not suggesting THAT kind of cocktail, but more the jewelry variety. Bring your favorite party, evening and cocktail jewelry pieces into your professional wardrobe. Add a sparkly brooch to that boring suit jacket, rhinestone necklace layered with a non-descript chain, a statement cocktail ring as your ‘every-day-right-hand’
I’m not suggesting you go against corporate norms. The first impression created by a professional and polished image is critical to overall career success. I am, however, suggesting you infuse your REAL Style Personality into your professional life. After all…you spend a lot of time there. You might as well feel your best!