By: Jeannine Benoit Adams, Founder of Ready Pretty
This week, we’re collaborating with Ready Pretty, the online personal styling and shopping destination for women. Founder Jeannine Benoit Adams is sharing some of her favorite tips with us on how to step up your workwear wardrobe and dress for business casual the right way. Learn more about Ready Pretty at www.ReadyPretty.com and use code RP15 to receive 15% off your first service with a stylist.
Let me first start this out with, I’ve been there. Prior to starting Ready Pretty, I worked in advertising and public relations for more than a decade. I’ve seen the best and worst of the business casual environment. I get it, it can be tricky. And let’s face it – we’re at work for 8 hours plus each day – can’t we just get a little cozy? The answer is yes. But comfort can’t translate to unprofessional. It’s a new world, and the rules for business casual have changed. So when your company calls for business casual, let’s all do ourselves a favor and adhere to a few hard and fast rules on dressing for the occasion.
Check out my Ready Pretty approved tips on how to rock business casual style all day everyday at your office.
Tip #1: Put a blazer on it
No, I don’t mean a stuffy sport coat or formal suit blazer. I mean a jacket or blazer over anything instantly polishes an outfit. There are several great, fitted blazers from brands like J.Crew, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic that offer easy classics in neutral colors. Want to jazz it up a bit? Opt for a blazer in a fun floral or stripe, or pick a rich hue like turquoise or green. By simply throwing a blazer over a t-shirt even, you’ve up’d your style quotient in the quickest way possible.
Tip #2: There’s more to life than black pants
So many of our users get stuck in this world of black pants Monday through Friday and it’s not necessary. There’s more to wear than black pants at the office. Think pattern and color and stripe, cropped and wide-leg and skinny! There’s a variety of black pant alternatives out there – key will be finding the right fit for your body (more on that below.)
Tip #3: Leave the leggings at home
I can’t stress this one enough. At work, there are pants and there are tights. Trying to make the long sweater over leggings thing work, honestly just doesn’t. Don’t me wrong. I love a good pair of leggings, but in a professional setting (even the most casual) throw on a great pair of black denim instead and consider your outfit done. Trust me on this – it’s a much more pulled together look that says ready for work, not ready for a workout (or nap).
Tip 4: A good shoe or necklace can do wonders
One of our favorite outfits options at Ready Pretty is pairing a fresh white t-shirt, well-fitting jeans and a bold necklace together. Accessories are a great way to add polish and visual interest to an outfit in a quick and simple way. Several brands like BaubleBar or Olive + Piper offer great, inexpensive options that can take your look from super casual, to super cool business professional in an instant. Same goes for shoes – invest in a few classic pairs like a black and neutral pump, but then consider bringing cool textures, colors and silhouettes in to your outfits with footwear.
Tip 5: Find your fit
This one’s important. Too big and you look like a mess, too small and things start to look inappropriate. Opt for fabrics that have a bit of stretch and stick to fitted, not tight pieces that flatter your figure. There are a variety of outfit options out there and a good tailor is always worth the money if you struggle with finding things that work for your body.
I think the biggest piece of advice that I can give you all would be two fold. First, dress like you care. What you wear everyday is important, it sets the tone about your personality and even suggests your abilities and skill level (in some instances) so dressing like you know what you’re doing can go a long way. And second, dress for the job you want. I’ve always dressed as though I was in a more senior role – even when I wasn’t – throughout my career. It allowed me to be taken seriously even as an Assistant Account Executive in my first gig way back when. That said, dressing well does not need to break the bank. There are several retailers out there that carry affordable, stylish, business casual pieces that can help you to feel cool, confident and ready to take on the (work) day.
Need help reworking your work wardrobe? Head to Ready Pretty today and don’t forget to use code RP15 to receive 15% off.
Tell us, have you ever struggled with your workwear wardrobe?