Wardrobe Essentials: From Casual To Professional

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A good friend of mine recently came to me with a request for fashion advice, and like any good attention seeking millennial, I thought, “Ah! I can make a blog post about that!” Because if she’s having this question, I wonder how many others are asking the same thing? There are many a people (myself included) who like to lounge around in sweatshirts, leggings, yoga pants, and tank tops. But there comes a time when you begin yearning for something more stylish, adult-y, or professional.

And you can find many tutorials and guides online for how to update your wardrobe to be more mature, professional, and stylish, but they ain’t my tips! So, without further babble, here are my tips and tricks to add to the collective cesspool of internet advice.

Professional Essentials


Plain Black Leggings
Skinny Jeans
A Well Fitting Bra
Black/White/Beige Cami
Blazer
Heels
Flats
White T-Shirt
Jean Jacket
Little Black Dress
(Faux) Diamond Earrings
Simple necklace


With the above list of wardrobe essentials, you can craft just about any outfit for any professional or dressy occasion. Of course you are encouraged to own more than this, but these are the basics of what I always make sure I have in my closet. You never know when you might need an interview blazer, or a pair of pumps for a party. I find that simple jewelry works best most of the time, unless you are going for the specific look of a statement piece.

General Rules

  1. If you are wearing a baggy top, do not wear loose fitting pants.
  2. If you are wearing a tight top, it goes well with looser pants.
  3. Whoever said you can’t wear brown and black together was seriously disturbed.
  4. Draw out colors in your clothes by wearing accompanying makeup.
  5. If your outfit is lacking, you can make up for it with your hair or makeup.

What Does “Business Casual” Mean?

According to the dictionary,

busi·ness ca·su·al
adjective
1. relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.
But what exactly does that mean?

It means you don’t have to show up to work in a full dress suit, heels, and jewelry, with your hair styled and makeup applied. There is some laxity in business casual, but you are still expected to show up looking put together and presentable. You can switch out the heels for flats, ditch the stockings, and maybe even the blazer. As long as what you are wearing isn’t something you’d wear on a weekend out with the girls.

This means:

  • No Short Skirts
  • No Low Cut Tops
  • No Flip Flops
  • No Hoodies
  • No Loud Patterns or Profane Graphic Tees
  • In fact, No Graphic Tees at all
  • No Ripped/Distressed Jeans
  • No Facial Piercings or Tattoos Visible

In essence, you want to dress conservatively, with little room for distractions. If you are unsure about a piece of clothing, don’t wear it, or ask your supervisor if the item is appropriate for the workplace.


How To Dress For Different Events

The Symphony | Don’t wear anything that could jingle or clank during the performance and cause a distraction to others in the theater. This means no bangle bracelets, heavy chains, noisy jackets, or squeaky leather boots. Also, never wear a hat inside a theater as it could block the view of the people sitting behind you. Recently, I’ve noticed a trend of people not really getting dressed up for the theater, which is quite disappointing. If you can’t get dressed up for that, then what can you get dressed up for? I fully support getting dolled up in your finest clothing to appreciate fine art. Even if you are the most overdressed one there, set the standard you want to see in the world!

A Party | Chill with the heels. I know it’s tempting to “go big or go home” and wear the shoes you all see celebrities rocking when they go to parties, but keep in mind that there may not be room to sit, or you may be walking around as you mingle, not to mention dancing. Heels are fine, but make sure that they are broken in and won’t cause any problems by rubbing blisters. If you know they will be a problem, but you just have to wear them anyways, consider adding gel inserts or taping up the spots where they rub.

A Black Tie Event | A little black dress is always classy, and always a safe bet when attending a “black tie event”. If black isn’t your color, opt for a muted shade so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Cocktail dresses are just the thing for an event like this. Pair your pick with some simple jewelry and comfortable but stylish shoes, as you may be standing and socializing for long periods of time.

A Fine Dining Restaurant | The biggest tip here is to avoid perfumes. If you are going to a dinner, the last thing your fellow dinner mates want to experience is tasting your perfume along with their filet mignon. Also avoid clothing with baggy sleeves or flowing materials, as it may get in your food as you eat.


Before You Start Updating Your Wardrobe

Go through your current wardrobe and sort through things you want to keep and need to get rid of. Donating gently used clothing to charity and thrift shops is a great way to help those less fortunate, and will clean out space for your new items at the same time. When sorting, if you haven’t worn it within the year, get rid of it. If you are holding onto it in hopes that you will one day fit into it again, get rid of it. There are so many nice pieces of clothing just waiting to come home with you. Don’t cling to those exes. You haven’t worn them in a while for a reason.


Have any fashion tips for those looking to step up their professional wardrobe game? Leave your comments down below!

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

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3 comments on “Wardrobe Essentials: From Casual To Professional”

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