Appropriate Attire for Work?

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  1. Most of my clothes are more flashy or sexy and I need to build a business wardrobe that is not too distracting. What do you consider cute AND appropriate for work?

    Would these shoes be too much?

    http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/430584

    All of my shoes are either flat or super high and I need some more normal shoes. I don't want to look boring and conservative though.

    Would a Birkin or Chanel be too flashy as a work bag?

    What do you think?
     
  2. Where do you work?
     
  3. ^I just started... in a company that is selling chemical products. I am meeting many new potential clients. It is a rather dry field. Not very creative.
     
  4. Then the shoes may be much. My shoes are also too tall or flat :smile: - for work you're going to need some that fall in the middle. I used to wear kitten heels or wedges for work - mid heels always feel old to me. You can wear designers - just nothing that screams designer KWIM. All you need are several beautifully tailored pieces that mix and match. Dresses are easy (I would think no sleeveless, no low cut and no shorter than an inch or two above the knee) because it's a complete outfit - plus you can transform them with a blazer or cardi thrown over.

    It also depends where you live. In NYC you can manage in all black LOL. You'll need to introduce more color almost anywhere else. You want to be able to relate to your clients so they will feel a connection and trust you. Where are your clients located? How do they dress? Also, how do your co-workers dress? It's ok to show your personality at work (in your clothing choices) but if there is a huge differential you can find yourself excluded. Are there other women at work or is a male dominated office? Is everyone in a suit? How long have you had this job?

    There are so many factors. You don't have to spend a lot to build a wardrobe and I'm sure there are some pieces you have in your closet that you can expand upon. Honestly I would go safe to start - just don't invest too much until you have a better feel for the environment.
     
  5. Thank you so much for your amazing advice! You gave me a lot of ideas and thoughts I did not consider before.

    I think I'll get some nice ballet flats or small wedges. I just cannot wear small heels. I think a great work bag would be Bottega Veneta. It's not flashy but still fab and timeless. There are many males and very few females so I think I will be extra careful in the beginning.
    Thank you again :smile:
     
  6. My pleasure. Good luck!

     
  7. The shoes don't look work-appropriate to me.

    I think that a Chanel bag would be too flashy for your field of work. The Birkin could be okay as it's unlikely to be recognised in male-dominated workplace.
     
  8. 4 inches are abit too high imo. Perhaps 1-2 inches will be ok. I prefer heels to look more professional.

    As for bags, BV is a great choice. I normally use obscure bags for work too. I wouldn't consider Chanel or Birkins for work. May seek unwanted negative attention. It's reality that perception counts at work & not all people appreciate buying branded bags.
     
  9. You mentioned that you will be meeting potential clients. In that case, I would advise against the birkin. I feel when you are just starting in any job, it really is better to keep a low profile in your dressing and let your work speak louder. You know what I mean? I however understand the desire to still carry a nice bag;))) I think a BV or a a favorite of mine, TODS indicate understated taste. Good luck in your job!
     
  10. There has been a few very good points mentioned here already, and also in some threads in the Hermès subforum re Bs in the workplace (mostly no). I would err on the side of caution and not consider Hermès or Chanel. BV is a great option, as is Tod's and Loewe.

    I'd go for a mid heel, single sole pump: http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/350676/Gianvito_Rossi/suede-pumps

    I'm sorry I can't be more exciting, and I LOVE your shoe selection, but not for work. A work event at night, yes, but not to meet clients.

    I'd go for well cut tailored pant suits with collared shirts, or well tailored blouses. Suits in neutral colours (black, cream, grey) and if you want to go for colour do so in the tops. There are quite a few suit options where you can mix and match different jackets to the pants/skirts.

    Absolutely no tanks/camis, cleavage, short skirts, see through (unless this is layered on top of another top), sandals/open toe shoes, or anything tight. At some point you're going to need these options in the wardrobe for various meetings or events. Work is not the place for cute; don't let clothes distract from your capabilities. Again, apologies for sounding boring but I'm sure if you guage what others are wearing, go for the elegant, polished, conservative options. Best of luck!
     
  11. Thank you everybody!

    I appreciate all your thoughts and input. I guess, I will have to accept that in order to be taken seriously, I will have to give up on looking cute.
    I find it sad, that as a woman we have to give up on certain things that make us who we are just not to distract from our capabilities. But I guess that's just the world we live in and I'll accept it :smile:

    I think my biggest issue will be the shoes. I just hate the look of 2 inch heels (please, everybody who likes them, do not take offense please). But I will get used to, or find some fabulous Alaia ballet flats :graucho:
     
  12. I disagree with the bolded. I've been in the professional/corporate workforce for a while and haven't given up my cute lol. It's just different than what you may be used to.

    Professional looks can look very polished and "cute." But it's a different "cute" than a "lunch with girlfriends cute" or "going out for drinks cute." The point is to look professional, not "cute", as in showy, flashy, or sexy, KWIM?

    There are a huge variety of cute, and professional, blouses and sweaters that can be worn on their own or under cardiagns or blazer or suits, and tons of professional dresses as well. You can easily accessorize with pretty/"professional cute" scarves, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc.

    As for shoes, you might laugh, but there are very nice looking professional pumps and slingbacks at Ann Taylor. Many of them have heels of 3.25 inches, which certainly aren't flats by any means and surpass your stated dissatisfaction of 2 inch heels.

    The whole point is that in some career fields, both women AND men are expected to dress in a professional manner at the workplace. I would think in your field of non-creative chemical sales, it's a drier environment than others so the expectation of being professional and non-flashy is higher.

    GL!
     
  13. I disagree with the bolded. I've been in the professional/corporate workforce for a while and haven't given up my cute lol. It's just different than what you may be used to.

    Professional looks can look very polished and "cute." But it's a different "cute" than a "lunch with girlfriends cute" or "going out for drinks cute." The point is to look professional, not "cute", as in showy, flashy, or sexy, KWIM?

    There are a huge variety of cute, and professional, blouses and sweaters that can be worn on their own or under cardiagns or blazer or suits, and tons of professional dresses as well. You can easily accessorize with pretty/"professional cute" scarves, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc.

    As for shoes, you might laugh, but there are very nice looking professional pumps and slingbacks at Ann Taylor. Many of them have heels of 3.25 inches, which certainly aren't flats by any means and surpass your stated dissatisfaction of 2 inch heels.

    The whole point is that in some career fields, both women AND men are expected to dress in a professional manner at the workplace. I would think in your field of non-creative chemical sales, it's a drier environment than others so the expectation of being professional and non-flashy is higher than in other fields that may be more creative, or in positions that are not client/customer-facing intense.

    GL!
     
  14. Yes to all of this.

    It's not about being boring or giving up your individuality.
    You're not going clubbing, you're going to work and if you want people to take you seriously and purchase from you, then you need to dress the part of a successful professional.
    There's no reason why you can't wear a simple 3" black pump. Something like the LK Bennett Stila or Sledge? To me, ballet flats with a skirt or suit are too childish looking. Look around at what other successful female professionals are wearing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with playing up your femininity but not at the expense of short skirts, sky-high heels or cleavage. Express your individuality with some great jewelry pieces.
    You have plenty of time to look cute after 5pm and on the weekends. Work is just that - work.
     
  15. Can you post a mod shot of something you would typically wear? Depending on how professional your office is (ie the men wear suits and ties and the women wear suits? Or is it more business casual - can't wear jeans and you need to look nice, but slacks and nice top or shell and jacket will do?), you can probably work some of the pieces in your wardrobe to fit by throwing a jacket over it and pairing it differently.

    I would agree you don't have to give up on looking cute. You just need to look cute without the sex and much less flash.