I’ve been working for the past six years in a mid-management role. Recently, I’ve moved over to a new organization where I feel I can really grow my career, however, I’ve noticed that some people in my office (those both senior to me and those at my level) keep giving me “odd” looks. I’m not sure whether I’m just plain paranoid or am doing something wrong! I don’t think it’s because of my office attire though. I even asked one of my colleagues (who I’m a bit closer with) if I’m dressing too provocatively. She seemed very supportive of this weird situation but I didn’t really feel that she gave me a straight answer. Could I be one of those fashion disasters in the work place and not even know it?
First of all, you deserve a pat on the back for being as open and honest with yourself and taking that hard look in the mirror. That’s a tough thing to do! Trust me, not many people do that!
Let’s focus on YOU and what you might be doing right or wrong when it comes to attire in the workplace.
Here are some simple guidelines that you might want to use to see if you need to step it up a notch (or two):
Necklines: There’s a quick test you can do to see if your girls are making too much of an appearance at the office. When you’re getting ready for work, look straight down at your chest. Can you see more than just a bit of cleavage? If so, you’re probably showing too much for the office. Now I realize that this can be a tricky area to dress, depending on your body type, so I would suggest playing around with different necklines to find the shape that works best for you (check out one of my past posts on necklines… this might give you a few ideas).
Material: I’m not sure what type of material you are choosing when buying professional attire but here’s a good rule of thumb: the more structure a garment has, the more professional and appropriate it looks (it won’t cling to your body) and the less likely it is to be seen as bar or club wear.
Skirt Length: This is an area where I often see many style ‘mistakes’. Here’s a simple checkpoint to see if you’re a showing too much leg: with the skirt or dress you would normally wear, sit down and see how much of your leg is showing. If it’s more than a couple of inches, your skirt is just too short for the office (check out this past post on skirt lengths)!
Heels: I do agree that heels give the leg a longer, leaner look. They do wonders in completing a professional look but sometimes women take high heels to a whole new level – like a 5 or 6 inch new level! If you’re wearing shoes that are much more suitable for a bar (one that is just too sexy) than for the office, you probably want to reconsider this choice. Here’s a couple of quick pointers: 1) if your heel is higher than 3-4 inches (if you’re in a more conservative office, I’d say that 3 inches is the max), leave it at home and 2) if the heel itself if very skinny, it may have too much sex appeal for the office.
I hope these suggestions are able to help you! If you have any other questions about creating a polished, professional look, don’t hesitate to ask.
Hey Readers, if you have any questions that you’d like answered, feel free to send them in. I’m always happy to weigh in. Happy Monday!