You must be intentional about defining your personal style.
Today at work I was listening to Myleik Teele’s podcast interview with Kahlana Barfield Brown, Fashion and Beauty Editor-At-Large at InStyle magazine. Towards the end of the interview, Myleik reads a letter from a young woman who is struggling with her everyday fashion sense and makeup application. Granted, she knows how to pull together a great outfit for a special occasion, but it’s maintaining a daily polished and stylish look for the office that is often difficult. At the end of the letter she mentioned that she would be starting a new job soon and wants to look great everyday, and not revert back to “frumpier” styles, but is not sure how to approach doing so.
So many women struggle with this very same issue, so I thought it would be helpful to share my advice on how to approach overcoming fashion woes in the office. I want to start first with what I consider to be an irrefutable fact: You must be intentional about defining your personal style. It’s not going to just fall into your lap. Especially as a professional woman navigating your career. There are so many politics involved in working a corporate job, so being able to stand confidently in your appearance is paramount.
Now, do you need to look like you’re walking a runway everyday? Not at all. But you do need to feel comfortable, confident, powerful, and yes, beautiful.
What does being intentional look like? Build into your monthly budget funds to buy at least 5-6 new clothing items that can be worn to work. At this point, you’re likely still building a wardrobe that is both functional and fashionable. Give yourself permission to invest in clothes that you will love to wear everyday and that will make you feel good about yourself. Yes, this counts as self care. If you do this consistently for at least a year, you will build a solid foundation for your wardrobe by year’s end.
Many companies today are either business casual or super casual; which can be a gift and a curse because it allows you the chance to express your personal style while in the office, but you also have to navigate what’s appropriate and when are the moments that you need to go a little more business attire than normal. When in doubt, go for a dressier look with a pair of heels. It’s way more acceptable to be a bit overdressed than to be the one person who is underdressed.
What to buy? Kahlana’s advice was spot on of course, highlighting neutral items that can extend the versatility of your wardrobe; black, white, or beige midi-dresses, trousers with a cool print that can be paired with a white blouse, and blazers, which you can style in so many ways and often find high quality at your local thrift store. A few of my favorite places to shop for clothes for everyday wear are LOFT, Zara, Uniqlo, H&M, Express, Marshalls, and Target.
How to stay consistent? In addition to Kahlana’s point of getting up early, which is an absolute must, also take the time on Sunday evenings to plan your outfits for the week. I personally have a small clothing rack in my room, that I ordered on Amazon for about $20, that I fill every weekend with items that I want to wear during the week. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the complete outfit, but if there is a beautiful blouse or skirt that you are excited about, to see it hanging on the clothing rack will encourage you to make it a priority to wear.
And honestly, once you start receiving compliments from friends, family, and coworkers on how amazing you look, you will inherently want to stay consistent.
Lastly, how do you nail down your daily makeup routine? My advice is to practice, and not when you’re under the morning pressure of getting out of the house to head to work. Make time on a lazy Saturday and play in your makeup; figure out what you like and what you don’t like, and better yet, what’s easiest for you to execute on a daily basis. There will definitely be a trial and error period, plenty of mornings of complete frustration and a disastrous winged eyeliner, but with practice makes perfect. Trust, you’ll feel empowered knowing you can do at least one great makeup look on yourself.
I hope this post is helpful for those of you who are also working on your personal style. Kudos to the young woman who reached out to ask Myleik and Kahlana for advice.
As always, I would love to hear from you guys. Leave a comment or shoot me an email with any style questions or thoughts on this post.
All the love,