Business Etiquette Series, Part 4

Hello, all! I hope you’re still as excited about the Business Etiquette Series as I am!

Today’s topic is over what to wear in a business world. In general, the business world is still fairly classic and conservative as opposed to other sectors. Part of this draws from what we learned in Part 3 of this series – consistency. Not changing how you dress in a drastic way from day-to-day (or coming in with radical hair changes) lends to a sense of consistency.

Does this mean that you can’t show off your personal style? Absolutely  not. However, always ask yourself: Do you want people to notice your clothes or do you want people to notice you? As an employee of a company, you are the living, breathing brand for said company. It’s reasonable that employers have expectations for you to look professional. But what does looking professional mean? Let’s go over a few tips today!

  • Be neatly groomed. What does this mean? You should be clean, and your clothes should fit. This does not mean that you’re expected to wear make up or jewelry daily. It does mean that your dress pants shouldn’t be so tight that they “pull.” It also means not coming into work with wet hair. Trust me when I say you won’t be taken seriously.
  • Choose timeless styles over fads. In addition to saving money in the end, you also won’t have to constantly prove to others that you know what you’re talking about. Whether it’s right or wrong, if you appear timeless in your style, there is an inherent sense of reliability that comes with that. Again, in the business world, the average person tends to be a little more conservative. It’s fine to enjoy risks in your attire outside of work. If you’re an investment banker, though, you don’t want to give the impression to your customers that you are risky with their money.
  • Avoid capris when possible. I live in Texas. I know hot. I also know, though, that capris, even dress capris, aren’t work appropriate. I always encourage my students in cotillion to dress for the job two or three levels about their current one.
  • Men, facial hair should be neatly trimmed. While even 10 years ago facial hair was fairly taboo, it’s becoming more acceptable. What’s not acceptable, though, is wild, crazy facial hair.
  • Ladies, if you wear make up, also keep it neat.
  • Choose a style that suits your taste and body. I enjoy dresses. They’re loose, cool in the summer and flow away from my hips. In fact, I wear dresses on a daily basis during the work week. This in no way suggests dresses are for everyone. You know your body and taste best. By choosing something that works for you, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style.

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please feel free to add anything in the comments!

Cutesy vs. Classy

I am blessed to be a contributor for our local paper where I answer readers’ questions on a weekly basis. In addition to this, I am finishing up this semseter’s Junior Cotillion and Cotillion courses, so I also receive questions there. I’ve noticed a “trend” (pun intended) of people leaning toward cutesy instead of classy. The difference, though, is very stark, in my opinion.

I remember when I was younger my mom asked me, “Do you want people to notice you or your clothes?” It changed my way of thinking. Now, this post is not implying that all trends are bad. I don’t believe that for one second. This post, though, is a gentle reminder that all trends aren’t for everyone.

If a trend detracts from you, it doesn’t work for you. I have forever wanted to be someone who wore maxi dresses well. I’m 5′ 3″ with hips. They just don’t work for me. There are several other trends, however, that do work well.

My goal in teaching my students etiquette is to encourage class over cute. We all work too hard to have a trend remembered instead of us.

In Your Easter Bonnet…

            Classic dress from Boden

Easter is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a fan of all holidays. There’s something very special, though, about the trees sprouting new leaves and the smell of spring rain in the air. I also notice that people tend to use Easter as the one occasion they still dress up.

             Floral Boden dress

 

A tradition in my own family is for everyone to get new clothes. I enjoy wearing dresses regularly, and the clothes my kids gets for Easter are the church clothes they usually wear throughout the summer, with some variations.

              Traditional Easter outfit

My kiddos are four and five years old, so I don’t buy a ton of nicer clothes for them. In addition to both kids growing quickly, they also tend to be a bit rough on clothes. Still, at Easter all rationalism flies out of the window.

I love classic clothing, particularly for kids. Seersucker and bowties are top picks of mine. My hubby will occasionally humor me with both options. Here are a couple of picks for my kids this year.

You can shop these looks at http://www.janieandjack.com and http://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/kids-clothing.

Bonus: In the South, it is traditional to bring out your white clothes again!

Why I Dress My Best….And Expect The Same From My Kids

You may remember this post where I talked about wearing clothes that were still casual (think cotton) but were just a little nicer than shorts. I was surprised that others took notice. At work, I tend to wear dresses. To me, they’re actually more comfortable than pants are (I’m hippy), but they truly do take things up a notch.

The past several times that I’ve gone to WalMart, I’ve done so right after work. I’m there in my mid-high heels and my dress. Nothing super special. For about five times in a row now I’ve been complimented by strangers on looking nice. Usually by the end of the day, my makeup is a blur, and my hair isn’t the way I had it in the morning. They’re not necessarily inferring “pretty.” They were simply saying the appreciated that I wasn’t there with wet hair and shorts with “juicy” written across.

Our culture has become increasingly casual – to the point where someone in a simple cotton dress is noticed. Can I tell you my secret? I have about seven dresses. That’s all I wear to work. It keeps my closet cleaner. I prefer a minimalistic approach to living. I have two pair of earrings that I wear regularly. I also have a necklace that goes with about four of my dresses. I’m no Kate Middleton. I just do what works for me, but I truly do not think stepping up how we dress is any extra effort at all. As I explained in the first post where I talked about attire, putting on a skirt is really no extra effort than shorts. I’m not turning cartwheels, so I’m not worried about anything in that arena. My top is still a cotton top. It’s still very simple.

I do feel, though, right or wrong, we make an impression on others by how we look. I try to dress my best and for what’s appropriate, and I expect the same for my family. I want my kids to understand that taking a little time on our appearance isn’t vain. It is actually showing respect for ourselves and respect for others.

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts!