I recently read this article
from Yahoo! about fashion mishaps in the workplace – taking “casual Friday” too far and women who wear wholly inappropriate office attire. I can’t help but think (or notice) that much of this criticism is directed at young women. And I think the answer is one simple rule: “Expensive does not equal office appropriate. Nor does designer.”
Today, I saw a woman who works in a professional office wearing a beautiful silk white collared shirt and a gorgeous black cropped jacket with a detailed shoulder accent. Her top half was clearly A) expensive, B) designer, and C) office appropriate. Her bottom half, however, was the problem: black J Brand skinny jeans (photo below). Clearly these are A) expensive (I love designer, but will never spend $300 on jeans) and B) designer. But they are not, no matter what you’re wearing on top, office appropriate.
The same goes for maxi dresses, flip flops and any dress you might wear to “da club.” It might be expensive, it might be designer, but that doesn’t make it office appropriate.
The article above suggests a woman have essentially three wardrobes – work wear, casual wear, and special occasion wear. I agree, and generally believe those three should not intersect except in the rare occasion of staple pieces like black cardigans and structured jackets that can certainly be dressed up or down. Overall, though, it’s important to have style and class in what you choose to wear in the office. Just make sure you’re judging it by style and class, not price tag and brand name.
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.