Fashion and professionalism often seem like they are at odds with each other, but they don’t have to be. You can stay stylish while still keeping your professionalism on full display! Here are five tips for how to combine fashion and professionalism in your everyday style without sacrificing one or the other
1) Wear colors that complement your skin tone
As much as possible, try to wear colors that complement your skin tone. The better you look, the more confident you’ll feel — which is not only attractive but also an important quality in formal work environments.
It’s easy enough: Wear something that matches your skin color instead of clashing with it. You don’t have to be a fashion expert or spend a lot of money on clothes, either. If you can’t find anything in your closet, try shopping for basics like suits, dresses, skirts and tops that are classic yet trendy. Or invest in a few staple pieces that you know will last for years to come (e.g., white button-down shirts).
Always remember that you can’t go wrong with black, white, gray and navy blue — especially when it comes to workwear. Once you get yourself a good base of basics, you can dress up your outfit however you like.
Accessories are also key here: They’re low-risk ways to try out new styles without overcommitting. Just make sure that your accessories are high quality so they don’t fall apart after a few wears.
2) Avoid strange prints
Once you’ve gotten your work wardrobe, stick with it. Don’t mix dressy shirts with shorts or jeans. And try not to wear strange patterns like horizontal stripes when you’re aiming for formal attire. Ties come in some pretty wild patterns, but if you want them to pop against a solid shirt and make an impression that stands out, aim for solids instead of florals or other crazy prints.
If you can’t find solid ties (especially during sales season), pick out one tie at a time until your entire collection is uniform. It may be a boring approach, but it’s less risky than throwing on five different patterned ties together…which will make your outfit seem more like costume than business attire.
Muted solid ties like navy or grey will never let you down, especially during sales season. They can be easily accessorized with different color patterns or styles, giving you a lot of options without going overboard. And don’t worry about wearing a matchy-matchy look – nobody needs five black suits! One nice tie works just as well.
3) Black is always professional
First impressions are incredibly important. So why not make a good one? If you’re looking for a more professional wardrobe, it might be worth ditching your brightly colored clothes. Black is an effective color because it’s slimming—and it makes everyone look attractive (yes, men too).
Whether you choose to add subtle patterns like pinstripes or keep things simple with solid black, stick with neutral colors for your first outfit upgrade. You can always dress things up with accessories later.
Another easy way to infuse your wardrobe with professionalism is by mixing in some shades of gray. These colors can add a bit of depth without being overly flashy. We recommend sticking with medium or dark grays, as lighter tones can sometimes come off a bit harsh. To truly take things up a notch, consider adding black accessories like ties, shoes or handbags. They help liven up your outfit while still allowing you to appear professional.
4) Use simple, classic jewelry
You can never go wrong with understated jewelry. Simple necklaces, earrings and bracelets in neutral colors like gold or silver will complement both professional ensembles as well as a dressier outfit for happy hour after work.
Keeping an eye on current trends is also a good idea; these days, oversized hoops are one of the hottest jewelry pieces out there. Once you find your style, you can make it work for any occasion!
The key is to find jewelry that complements your outfit without stealing attention from it. If you’re wearing a sleek business suit, a single bracelet may be enough. But if you’re dressed more casually, opt for fun statement earrings or stackable rings..
5) Choose shoes with a low heel
Dressing fashionably doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort for style.
Instead of wearing high heels, opt for a low heel or flat sole shoes, which are just as stylish but have been shown to reduce back pain.
You can also ask a shoe expert at your favorite clothing store for tips on choosing comfortable shoes. They’ll be able to recommend specific brands of shoes that are both stylish and comfortable, so you don’t have to sacrifice either aspect of fashion for another.
Dressing for your body type is key When choosing clothing for work, there are no hard rules about what will look good based on your body type. You should select outfits that flatter your shape but feel comfortable enough for you to wear all day. Having an idea of the latest trends and knowing how to accessorize can make finding flattering outfits much easier. If you know exactly what kind of professional-looking outfit would suit your needs without having the pressure of picking something off the rack, take advantage of personal stylists like those offered by Rent The Runway!