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  • Business Casual-- I need ideas!

     

    Hi Everybody,

    I've decided that I want to step up my fashion game in 2011. For work, we are supposed to wear business casual, but I am so style challenged that I end up wearing jeans, sneakers, and a button up cardigan with a tank top underneath.

    My boss hasn't said anything (yet) but I hate walking into a meeting and looking like I skipped school to attend the meeting lol. I am looking for some pictures or websites where I can get some ideas for business casual for a young professional (25ish).

    My style is kind of artsy chic. I like classic shapes like cardigans, pencil skirts, etc, but I love funky earrings, bold patterns or colors, and accessories.

    Help! :-)

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    You should join boutiques.com; there you can take a quiz, get style recommendations, and look through other people's boutiques...its great for ideas, but for shopping it can be a little expensive...

    I would say that you need to start with building a basic wardrobe and then add from there...you probably need to prune the items that you currently have as well...less is more when trying to cultivate a wardrobe...

    I am in the process too, and I decided to focus on a few things...I look for good quality shift or sheath dresses is solid colors (or neutral patterns), I add jackets and sweaters to them, and then a colorful scarf (that is my favorite accessory right now)...once I had the basic clothing choices in mind, anytime I went to the mall, the thrift store, or a boutique, I focused solely on those things. Its made shopping and dressing easier. For so many years I felt like I just "couldn't" look professional, polished, put together...but I just had to start with the basics and get rid of ALL the clothes that did not fit in with the image I was trying to cultivate...

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    Great ideas Mae, I too looked at my career wear closet about 10 years ago and decided to make some changes. Much like you I felt like every morning I was trying to figure out what to wear and it was always a hit or miss in the business casual area. I read and found ideas for "capsule closets". Here is a link to information about it
    http://lexitalkshop.blogspot.com/200...-wardrobe.html

    But if you google it, you will find lots of ideas. The central theme is that you purchase items that are timeless and that will work well with other items. Back then there was a group of stores called Casual Corner (and Petite sophistoctis for petite sizes and August Max for woman sizes) that catered to professional looking clothes in which multiple peices workered together. They had a standard line in various different cuts in order to work with different body styles but all in the same fabric. It included blazers, dress slacks, and sheath dresses. Their standard colors were Black and navy and each season a pop color would be introduced in the same fabric therefore making a easy way to expand your wardrobe without having to buy a new suit each season. They also had blouses, sweaters, scarves and jewelry that all coordinated. when I found that store I was in absolute heaven. But wouldn't you know they went out of business. . Surprisingly I still have many of the pieces that I purchased then and still get compliments on it. Again, the cuts and construction of the garments were timeless so I didn't purchase with the intent of only wearing for a year or two.

    My most recent find of a store that works under the same principle is dress barn. They have a website dressbarn.com. You will find that they have that basic black and navy suit and each season they have additional pop color pieces etc too. They carry plus size too. I think they actually carry 0-28W.

    One thing that I really like is it makes the "trying to find something to wear" in the morning much easier. I can put on a pair of dress slacks with a coordinating jacket funk it up with jewelry and I'm ready to go. Or a sheath dress with a blazer. I always look professional even with an unexpected meeting or class to teach.

    There are also some youtube videos on the topic too.

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    wow! I've never heard of that website. I'm in love! I am definitely not going to get any work done today haha. It really got my style down! My favorite is casual chic. Thanks so much for this site!

    I like your approach to shopping. It sounds less overwhelming that going in and trying to find multiple items at once.

    Keep the suggestions coming!

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    Start buying denim slacks instead of jeans - same comfort level but slacks look more polished

    Try sneaker-inspired shoes instead of true sneakers. Example:

    I have ^^ these in different colors as part of my biz-casual wardrobe.

    Well made, stretch jersey t-shirts and tanks look more polished than regular ones and IMO make a better backdrop for patterned blazers and cardigans.

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    Ooooh, this is nice! I actually work in hospital administration so our dress code is supposed to be "business" but my boss isn't uptight like that!

    I've got multiple closets (and totes and plastic bags) FULL of clothes that I never wear for one reason or another - this pregnancy will be the perfect time for me to purge and start ova!

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    I'm trying to get away from the jeans and sneakers look, mostly because I am only 5'2 and I constantly get mistaken for a kid. I'm trying to not necessarily look older, but at least look somewhat put together so that I can pass for someone my age. But I do like the idea of denim slacks. I try and stick with dark denim so that they at least look a little dressy, but its hard to find jeans that dont have the bright stitching or rhinestones on the back pockets.

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    Also you may want to check with your HR policy on dress code. All of the places I've worked any type of jean material is not allowed. (Though I love Jean slacks). So typically I don't think of that as business casual.

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    We don't have HR. We have a small staff. I've seen other people in the office wear jeans, but they are the high premium dark denim slacks that you see at jcrew or banana republic.

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    I'm trying to get away from the jeans and sneakers...

    Unfortunately, where I work we cant wear jeans (dress code policy is very strict) but when I'm attending functions on the weekends, I'd wear a dark pair of skinny jeans (Charlotte Russe has some great pairs, very chic and simple-no stitching or rhinestones) and also prety affordable - with a short jacket (that hits right at the waistline....nice scarf and some killer heels (love shoes lol)

    I think outfits like those are business casual and mature without looking childish or frumpy...dress it up with earrings and a nice purse (I'm a major bag lady...my number one weakness) I'm 5'2 as well and I have a really young face so I feel your pain lol

    Just have fun with it while keeping it professional

    I hope this helps

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    Mae, that boutiques.com is amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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