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A Savvy Gal’s Guide to Looking Good in the Workplace

By Sandra Martinez

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look-good-at-workHaving an amazing career is a large step forward toward your goals and it is important that you don’t unknowingly make the wrong impression due to the style of clothing you wear.  Of course you will want to have your personal style/image to give you a competitive edge so that you stand apart from others. However, you will want your style to also represent your company in the eyes of your employer and its consumers. Here are 5 tips that will keep you looking good in the workplace and make your style stand out while maintaining your professionalism.  Add a “Pop” of Color When working in an office career setting, there are several shades of colors considered to be the norm and acceptable, such as shades of blue, black, grey, brown and white.  Adding a little color to your day by wearing a bold color blouse or adding a bright necklace to an outfit is a great way to add a pop of color. Learn which colors complement one another to maximize your look. Another trick is to buy colorful blazers. For example, match a black dress with a white blazer that features a bright or bold pattern on the cuffs or wear a colorful dress which has a pop of color that matches a dark color blazer.  Lastly, add a pop of color, by wearing bright colored shoes, which will draw in everyone’s attention. If you work in a corporate environment, use your best judgement based on your corporate culture.  For example, in a corporate environment, you will want to wear conservative colors shoes such as black, brown, navy and beige. As long as the colors are on the more subtle side, you should be good to go! Here is a preview of this Fall season’s palette of multi-faceted, androgynous colors that portray an effortless sophistication across women’s and men’s fashion. Pantone-Colors-Fall-2015 Colors: Dried Herb-Desert Sage-Stormy Weather-Oak Buff-Marsala-Biscay Bay-Reflecting Pond-Cadmium Orange-Cashmere Rose-Amethyst Orchid (, 2015) Well-Fitting Clothes is Must! When your clothing looks too big or too loose, you will not look professional!  When we buy most clothing, it is usually sold as a one size fits all. Therefore, it is important to have your clothing tailored so it fits your body appropriately. Avoid wearing low-cut, too short or tight curve hugging clothing as they are not appropriate in most workplace cultures. Make sure your clothing accentuates your figure, but does not define it.  Focus on what makes you feel confident and feminine. You’ll want to always look like a power house in the office! Accessorize Cleverly Accessories are the key ingredient to a professionally well put together outfit. Accessories can give you the little edge you need in your everyday wardrobe without losing your professionalism, if its done right. Statement pieces – necklaces, earrings, broaches and large rings are a Fall 2015 fashion trend and the perfect little bit of bling to add to your wardrobe – just be sure not to over do it while ensuring you are following your company culture and dress code. Always remember these two key points:  (1) accessories should never overpower your look, only accentuate it. (2) select one or two bold items because less is always more. (Professional et al., 2015) Wearing the Right Shoes The shoes you wear speak volumes about your wardrobe and style. Keeping a professional look in the workplace is a must. You can never go wrong with a nice fitting pair of slacks or a great pencil skirt paired with a sheer blouse, and fitted blazer, but add a killer heel or pump and it will make the entire outfit look fabulous! The rule of thumb is to keep your heels 3” or lower, even if you are petite in height.  Remember, you’re not going to a social event or a club. Whether you are in your workplace environment or representing your company out of the office, you can rock your professional style wherever you go. (Professional et al., 2015) Length and Height Matters Although the dress you bought may fully cover your upper body, make sure it is NOT more than 2 to 5 inches above your knee. Skirts or dresses shorter than 2″ above the knee are not considered workplace appropriate, if you intend to convey a professional image. The last thing you want is for your co-workers, managers or clients to form a negative perception about you so be sure your dresses and skirts fall at or below the knee.  Also always pay close attention to avoid showing too much skin at the bust, especially those of us that fall within the larger scale of bust sizes. Ensure the height of your blouse or top covers your bust area appropriately. If wearing a low v-neck, be sure to wear a camisole underneath. After all, there is no need to distract others with our physical assets but instead our words, ideas, performance and other work-related abilities.  The fact is you can look fabulous without needing to expose your feminine assets. (Professional et al., 2015) As a Savvy Gal, be self-aware of how you dress in the work place. Do not make the mistake of giving the wrong perception or impression due to the style of clothing you wear. After all you have he power to control the image you want to portray. This said, I’ll leave you with a thought provoking quote by Catherine Aird. “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”  A little harsh perhaps, but a bold statement to never forget! The main take away from this article is, as a Savvy Gal, you’ll want to ensure your personal style gives you a competitive edge that will help you standing apart from others by always looking good in the workplace.   Source Reference:,. (2015). Pantone – PANTONE Color, products and guides for accurate color communication.. Retrieved 23 September 2015, from Professional, T., Way, K., Resume, H., Mistakes, C., Questions, T., & Coworker, K. (2015). The Fashionista’s Guide to Looking Good and Professional. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from

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About Sandra Martinez

Sandra is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. She is a merchandise marketer who has respected experience in fashion showrooms and with ...

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