Not everyone works in corporate America where the decision is what’s the latest in suit fashion or how to interpret business casual. I have a lot of friends that work in environments where dressy isn’t an option and jeans are the norm for their work week. From construction offices to apartments and from refineries to day cares, corporate fashion just doesn’t translate.
Unfortunately, some people use casual work spaces as an excuse to look sloppy. Informal environments do not translate to sloppy, and many people, including bosses, will equate your work attire with your work ethic. You need to look sharp and well put together, even in jeans, and luckily that’s easier than ever with the numerous options for casual wear today.
Because so many of these jobs do not offer the opportunities for dresses or skirts (playing with kids, running out to the field in FRC), I am only highlighting jeans/pants options. And here’s a few tips to consider:
1. Do not wear faded, acid washed, ripped or torn jeans. Even if they are on trend. They are not on trend at work.
2. Do not wear t-shirts. There are so many lovely options out there and a nice knit top or a simple blouse can improve an outfit miles beyond what a t-shirt does.
3. Do not wear items of clothing with messages. Work is not the time to show case your attitude printed on your rear or chest.
4. Do not wear items out of date. This includes items of clothing that no longer fit you, that are faded or piling, that are faded or torn. Informal does not mean standard-less.
5. There are still ways to be feminine, even in heavily male work environments. A pop of color, a tailored sweater, a pretty flat, or an eye-catching necklace are all ways to personalize the outfit even in the most casual or masculine environments. One of the best ways to do this is to layer pieces, which also just comes in useful when you live in places like Texas that are hot outside but cold inside. Here are some great examples of ways to do just that:
Note, if an item features heels and that doesn’t work for your environment, substitute them with a simple flat (and entirely ignore the photo with the flip flops – that is a NEVER do in any work environment!)
What is your solution for casual work environments?