Trying to strike a balance between trendy and office-appropriate is something we all strive for when deciding what to wear to work. Sometimes you're just stuck in a boring style rut and you can't seem to get out of it, or perhaps you're new on the job and you have yet to perfect the ultimate office wardrobe. If you're tired of trying on endless piles of clothes every day before deciding on something that's just average, check out the tips below that can help you step up your style game every day of the week.
Take a look at how other people dress at your job. Is it more laid back and casual, or conservative? Do your office mates wear brightly colored makeup and edgy accessories? Once you understand the office atmosphere and know the dress code, you can begin building your personal style with those things in mind. You don't want to walk into a conservative office in 6-inch heels and a form-fitting, cleavage-baring dress, right? Think of the image you wish to project, then choose your clothing based around that. For example, a professional image is easier to express through tailored clothing, while a laid back and approachable image is expressed through lighter, looser fabrics.
You can never have too many basic button-down shirts, pencil or A-line skirts, pumps, cardigans, blazers and classic-fit slacks. These time-tested office staples never go out of style, and they're perfect for days when your creativity is lacking. Don't be afraid to spend a little more on these items, since they'll be likely to last many years. Choose neutral colors so they'll match well with virtually every accessory you own.
Mix up your wardrobe with bright colors, patterns and textures.
Choose a few statement tops, pants, skirts or dresses that you can mix and match with your neutral basics. Choose colors that work well with your skin tone. Warmer skin tones generally look best with gold, cream, brown, yellow, orange and red shades. Cooler skin tones generally look best with silver, white, blue, purple, gray, green and black. Pick one or two colorful pieces to add a personal touch to a basic outfit.
If you have an apple-shaped body, choose cuts of clothing that enhance your limbs rather than your middle. Slim pants and loose or empire-waist tops are a good choice, as well as shift dresses and tunic tops. For hourglass bodies, choose clothing that shows off your narrow waist, such as high-waisted pants, pencil skirts, wrap dresses and v-neck tops. Rectangle-shaped bodies look best with clothing that creates the illusion of a smaller waist and fuller hips. Peplum-style tops and flared skirts work well for this body shape, as well as boot-cut pants. For pear-shaped bodies, choose wide-leg pants, A-line skirts, structured jackets and boat neck tops to help balance out your body. If you have an inverted triangle-shaped body, wear tops with smooth, straight lines on top and minimal details. Peplum tops work well, and pants or skirts with fuller pockets or a wider hemline create fullness in the hips.
Customize your look with up-to-the-minute handbags, jewelry, belts, scarves and hair accessories. Trends change often, so there's no need to spend a fortune on accessories that you might only wear for one season. You can take a basic outfit from boring to amazing with a few well-chosen accessories.
A foolproof daytime office makeup look is natural yet polished looking. Focus on good skincare, so you'll have a better canvas to start with. Even out your skin with foundation, BB cream or mineral powder in key areas, and conceal blemishes or dark circles with smooth, creamy concealer. Apply a neutral eyeshadow or thin line of eyeliner, followed by a coat of mascara. Touch up your brows with a pencil or powder, and add a light flush of color to your cheeks with a cream or powder blush. Follow up with a dab of lip gloss, balm or tint. If you're feeling adventurous, add a bright pop of color to your lips in the form of lipstick, stain or crayon. Go easy on bronzers and highlighters for a daytime office look, and avoid glitter if you're trying to look professional.
Small details like this make a big difference in your overall appearance. Even if you hate getting your nails done, at least keep them clean and trimmed. Brush your teeth every day before work - no exception - and use mouthwash as a bonus. Washing your hair daily is ideal, but that can wreak havoc on dry or colored hair, so at least use dry shampoo to freshen it up and add some volume and manageability. If all else fails, wear it up in a ponytail or bun. Shower daily and always wear deodorant. Good hygiene is just as important as dressing well, so always keep that in mind.
Avoid wearing anything too over-the-top at the office. You don't want to look like a Christmas tree, do you?
Always keep the makeup minimal for regular hours. Too much makeup can ruin the show.
Don't go for heels if you have to spend a lot of time on your feet. Replace heels with cool and chic flats, boots or oxfords if you're always running from place to place. If you must wear heels but you have a long walking commute to and from work, pack a thin pair of flats to quickly change into before you leave the office.
Accessories are absolutely fine and recommended. However, don't go overly-flashy items in the office.
Avoid low-cut tops and tight-fitting dresses. After all, being comfortable is being stylish. Tight and body-hugging clothing isn't usually comfortable, and it's generally inappropriate for the office.
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