How did your work wardrobe change as you moved up the chain?

posted 1 year ago in Career
Post # 16
9972 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

My bosses are both female and both number 4 from the top of the whole company. They honestly dress like models, a lot of 1950s style swing skirts with white structured blouses and accessories, pant suits with capes, designer shoes.One boss often has the most beautiful clothing specially made from African prints/fabrics. LOTS of color! I never see them in all neutral outfits, there is always a neon yellow and grass green or red with their neutrals. So I agree, the more higher up the more “fashion” the women seem to dress. They wear a lot of things I wouldn’t immediately look at and think “business attire” but it works and they look fantastic!

Accessories seem to be a big thing, it really takes things to the next level. I’m actually excited to get my body back and see if I can get my fashion up to par with theirs after i’m not pregnant and confined to mumu’s anymore. 

Post # 17
2518 posts
Sugar bee

I third the need for tailoring if you’re very petite. Also, find brands with cuts and sizes that work for you and become a repeat customer. Personally I have had really good luck with Theory on the higher end (they don’t have petites but they carry a 00) and Banana Republic/J Crew for lower end (both have petites and 00).

You might also find it useful to find a blogger with a similar body type to you to follow for recommendations on brands/pieces that work. I love the bog Extra Petite, for example – I have almost identical measurements to her so it’s really helpful to see clothing on her before I buy, even if not everything she posts is to my taste. She has a work outfits section with some great ideas for petite figures:

I also agree that looking professional is largely about the details. A neutral manicure, light makeup, a great blowout, understated jewelry, and a nice watch, handbag, and shoes all make a big difference. Keep in mind that bold colors/patterns may depend on your location as well as your industry (e.g. in NYC you’re more likely to find lots of black/neutrals whereas in LA you might see more color and bold prints). 

Post # 18
762 posts
Busy bee

If you want to experiment with professional looks outside of your basics you could try Rent the Runway unlimited membership. They have lots of professional dresses, tops, purses, and jewelry you could try and see what you like. I use it for work meetings ( I work from home so don’t have to dress up that often) and absolutely love it 🙂 

Post # 19
6447 posts
Bee Keeper

I think your outfit is fine.  I would just add a few more pieces that might be more fancy for wearing once or twice a week.  I have a couple of outfits like that right now

Post # 20
119 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

bywater :   Sunfire :  Exatly this!

When I started out my career in Asset Management, even as an analyst right out of college I wore dresses, pants portofino shirts/blouses, heels all the way (think Express, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic etc etc). Now I work in corporate finance of one of the largest tech ompanies and IT IS casual to the max. I think Finance tends to be one of the better dressed department at our company (our typical engineers wear tshirt and shorts) – but still, I see most guys wearing a casual button up and jeans. Now I just stick to nice jeans or colored pants, ad pair it with a nice top + cardigans/blazer. 

I second observing coworkers as well!


Post # 21
2456 posts
Buzzing bee

As I’ve advanced in my career, my work wardrobe has:

– gotten more minimalist, yet a bit edgy.  As someone else pointed out, I take more fashion risks but the overall look is sleek/minimalist.  I work in a male dominated field, so this definitely infleunces my work wardrobe.

– fewer prints and more solid colors.  If I want print with an outfit, I add a silk or cashmere scarf. But I tend towards monochromatic outfits with small pops of color.  

– more expensive fabrics and accessories.  a simple/severe black dress or suit looks totally different in a very high quality fabric.  

– capsule wardrobe.  i do gravitate towards having more higher-end pieces that mix/match well. 

– my heels have gotten lower, unlike many other bees. To be fair, I started my career wearing 4″ heels daily andf my feet just can’t take that anymore.  These days, I typically wear nice ballet flats, kitten heels, or boots.  

– similar note, my hair/makeup have gotten much more simple.  I’ve been rocking the French bob and no-makeup-look and have been pretty happy with that. I look polished and sophisticated but get taken seriously.  (Granted, I think it’s BS that a lot of men tend to think visible makeup on women means we’re less that serious.)

– jewelry, I keep simple.  My e-ring, I wear the same pair of diamond studs almost every day, and a simple diamond pendant.  Occasionally I’ll wear a different necklace; I collect antique jewelry and am passionate about it, but I don’t want to be seen at work as “the lady with all the jewelry”.  

I’m busty so traditional blazers are tricky as they make me look much heavier than I actually am. I really like structed knit suiting (ie, St John, Chanel) as it still conveys the same authority as a traditional blazer but is more figure flattering.  Bonus, this travels better and is less likely to wrinkle.

Post # 22
1589 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I like to think of my everyday business look as ‘de-sexed’. I have a 34D and trim/athletic build. I wear khakis, or business slacks (I just got a great pair of navy blue pants at J. Crew I’m in love with) and a J Crew “the perfect shirt” button ups most of the time with oxfords. I also wear a black high neck short sleeve dress and a lot of black. 

If I were paid more and this company cared more about what we looked like, I would invest in a Chanel suit or a handful of custom suits from Nordstrom. 

Nordstrom has personal stylists you could always go there and have someone design your core wardrobe for you. 

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