Most of us have gotten used to throwing on a pair of jeans and our favorite t-shirt to head out of the house or run errands. While we may not always think about the outfits we choose to wear, this changes when we need to get dressed for the work place.
Rather than attempting to buy professional attire at the last minute, it will be less stressful and easier on your wallet to transition your wardrobe early on. Follow these simple steps to smartly build a more professional wardrobe that will only help to advance your career.
Determine the organization’s dress code
Every job, workplace, and industry will have its own set of rules for a dress code. While you may not know exactly where you’ll be working when you start to buy new items, you should be able to get a sense of the office environment based on the career field you’re interested in. With some research on your industry, you may discover that your wardrobe already matches the environment you’ll be in. In order to get a better sense, it’s important to pay close attention during your interview, or look online to see what the company culture is like. This way, you can get an idea of the dress code in place and can already start to add to your wardrobe.
Change your shopping habits
Typically when you go shopping you’re looking for clothes that you’ll want to wear currently or sometime in the near future. However, you should start to trade-in some of those more casual items for their more professional counterparts. Instead of purchasing a t-shirt and jeans, consider buying a blouse or button down shirt. Many of the stores that you normally shop in sell formal pieces as well. When buying a new pair of sneakers or boots to add to your wardrobe, think about buying a pair of shoes that will instead work in a professional setting. A few simple changes here and there in your shopping habits will allow you to gradually add more work-appropriate clothing to your collection, instead of all at once.
Consider your outerwear
Everyone’s wardrobe starting point is different, and that can make buying new clothes more difficult. If you own some basic pieces, outerwear can be an easy and effortless way to dress up what you already have. If your office allows it, wearing black jeans with a more casual shirt can easily be dressed up by throwing on a blazer or suit jacket. A tip to remember is that you can dress down one part of an outfit if you make another formal. Mixing formal and non-formal pieces are also a great way to help blend your old wardrobe with the new one so none of your clothing goes to waste.
Ditch particular trends
Your current wardrobe probably consists of several pieces that are in style at the moment. You may have clothes that you wear to a summer concert or a night out with friends. While these styles can be fun and cool pieces for day-to-day activities, you need to be aware of what is and what isn’t appropriate for your office setting. There will be some pieces of clothing that you own that just can’t be worn and you’ll have to find alternatives for. You may have to sacrifice your personal wardrobe during work hours in order to comply with office standards.
Personalize your outfits
Although you may not be able to decide whether you have to wear a suit and tie or a blouse and skirt every day, you can use accessories to add your personal touch back into a plain outfit. You can still add your own flair by wearing fun prints and patterns that you like, or your favorite watch or necklace. It’s important to find ways to highlight your personality, as long as it stays within your organization’s dress code.
Transitioning your wardrobe to be more professional doesn’t need to be stressful. Your personal sense of style doesn’t have to disappear just because of where you work, and there are ways to express yourself without compromising your office’s dress code.
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