Let’s all admit it, finding the balance between comfortable and professional clothes is challenging. I find myself faced with the challenges of dressing for success and being comfortable. Offices are getting more casual with the dress code. Several offices have what is known as a relaxed office dress code.
While comfort is important, it is even more important to maintain a professional appearance. A professional appearance evokes authority, respect and trust. Casual dress has its place, sometimes looking too casual can harm your image. Clothes that are tailored can give you a feeling that you are entering a room looking your best.
For years I worked in an office. I punched in at 8:00 am and punched out at 5:00 pm. Most of my day was spent behind a desk dealing with administrative issues. Starting my own business was a major lifestyle change for me.
The biggest challenge I face with my wardrobe is finding clothes that are comfortable and professional. I present at casual settings as well as business meetings and exhibit halls. Coffee shops gatherings are very casual however professional business luncheons are not so much. Exhibit hall booths consist of carrying tables, putting up displays and being on my feet for hours. Every opportunity to share my business is very rewarding but can also be very hectic. My challenge is wearing clothes that are comfortable enough to put up and take down displays and professional enough to support that I am a knowledgeable and trustworthy business woman.
Some knits are tailored and can be very comfortable to work in. In the fall and winter months a nice light cardigan set with a pair of basic slacks make the perfect comfortable and professional outfit. Luckily here in South Louisiana, it’s possible to wear a light weight cardigan set in the winter time. Cardigan sets are fairly easy to find and are affordable. Two good staring points is Target and Chico’s.
Be careful, not all knits are professional. Stay away from anything that will look like yoga pants. Some knit tops may look like a t-shirt. However, you can use accessories such as infinity scarves or jewelry to dress up the knit top.
In the summer time, it’s okay to go sleeveless if you are in the right setting. Sleeveless blouses can be professional when paired with slacks. Sleeveless can be a little tricky and easily cross over into too casual. I recommend that when you are shopping, stay in the professional clothing sections and resist the urge to stray into athletics or casual wear.
If you have a job where you are on the go, in and out of your car visiting clients all day, sleeveless is a great choice. When you are in your car you can hang up your suit jacket while you drive. When you get to your destination, slip your blazer on over your sleeveless blouse. You can spend the entire day looking crisp and fresh. Not to mention, this will also help you manage the summer heat.
Try to stick with solid colors that you can easily interchange. Before you purchase a top or bottom, try to think of at least three other items in your wardrobe that you can pair that item with. This way you know you are getting some mileage out of your investment. Whenever you want a new look just add a different accessory.
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