Starting your first job? Have an internship this semester? Getting ready for interview season? Looking in your closet with no idea what to wear?
Heading into an office or professional environment can be intimidating for thousands of reasons, but a way to assure your confidence won’t be first to falter is to not lose yourself in your wardrobe. Whether it be carrying your favorite purse or wearing shoes that make your outfit pop, your outfit should represent your professionality AND your personality. So, the big question, where do you go??
Everyone needs to start somewhere, and if you’re balling on a budget then this may just be your place. The Gap has some sturdy solid pieces you can’t go without. It’s the great place to find a nice dress for an interview or the perfect pants with style. They even have a section called “The Work Shop” where they have cute plays on female styled button downs, all the styles of pants in every shape and color, skirts, jackets, sweaters… you get it, they have it all.
Express has all the staples for a professional business woman. They have the appropriately lengthed skirts, the neutral color blazers, and the tops with an appropriate neck and fit. Most importantly, they have all of these and they make them cute. Each piece has a special cut or flare to help you not feel as stiff or bland as an old textbook.
Zara is great for if your office does casual Friday or if you want to add some character to a boring item of clothing. For example, I had a very basic black dress (from The Gap), perfect for the office and even more perfect for being forgotten. I found a cape-style blazer at Zara that I paired with my outfit to spruce up the dress and still maintain a professional attire. Zara is also great for comfortable pants made of the most high quality materials and they look great.
If you can walk into Topshop and pull yourself away from the cute tops and weekend outfits, you can get down to the bare bones of their professional lines. Topshop can be tricky (well, distracting) because they don’t separate their business attire line from their other lines, so you really need to keep your eyes out when shopping here. But when you find something, it’s usually great so buy it in a few colors.
Feeling uninspired by your overflowing closet of beautiful appropriate clothing? Shop a little in your other sections. Nothing makes an outfit more comfortable and more personal than if you can sneak in something from your normal, casual wardrobe. For example, one day I was wearing a full pant suit which can be a little stuffy in New York City in August, so I wore my favorite Lululemon yoga top tucked into the pants and kept my jacket on all day in the office. No one knew it was a sports top, everyone thought it looked great, I was very comfortable and looked totally professional in my pant suit.
So maybe this helped you feel more confident, or maybe you’re still totally lost and have no idea what to be looking for in the first place. Well, it never hurts to online shop/ window shop to see what the mannequins are wearing or watch tv and see what your favorite girl crush is wearing at their office job! And when in doubt just remember: look for neutral colors (grey, white, black), better to be overdressed than underdressed, and if you have to ask if it’s too short or not professional enough then odds are it’s not!