My personal uniform is a hand-me-down Harley Davidson vintage tee from my dad, ripped up high-waisted black skinny jeans, heeled boots, a leather jacket, an over abundance of vintage silver bohemian/western jewelry and lipstick. I guess you could call my personal style a mix between your grandma’s vintage floral couch and a rock concert. Although I can confidently say I have finally found my “personal style,” I understand that sometimes my graphic tees or kooky vintage blazers don’t scream, “Hire me, I’m a BAMF girl boss.”
I’ve been asked the following question countless times as a stylist:
“How do you maintain your personal style within your work wardrobe?”
First of all, your work wardrobe does not have to be boring; also, your personal style can help you claim your identity in the work place, which is super important! So to help you, I have broken down my tips and tricks into five easy steps to help you blend your trendy duds with the office dresscode.
I’ve worked in corporate settings where matching neutral suits and kitten heels were the norm, and I’ve also worked in places where bras are not a requirement and if you wore blue lipstick you’d probably be complimented — two extremes, but no matter the company, you can still show your personal style within those dresscode guidelines.
Step 1: Define Your Personal Style
It took me several years to be able to sum up my personal style in one statement. I am feminine but not a girly girl or preppy. I love vintage and interesting prints, but I’m not hipster. I like edgy things but I’m not “edgy” enough to get a tattoo or piercing. You get the idea. I realized my main personal style traits were: feminine, vintage and edgy. So there you have it, I’m the girl with the rocker tee, a vintage floral midi skirt and red lipstick. My style is eclectic, but there are also things I’m genuinely drawn to that help sum up my personal style.
So what are the main points of your style? Maybe you love the bohemian feel of things but also would love to get your hands on a crisp white blazer—your personal style does not have to categorize you into one genre, and that is the beauty of it. This is the hardest step, but it also can help you build an efficient and “adult” (ew) wardrobe.
Step 2: What is your company dresscode?
Does your company have a strict dresscode? Do they partake in Casual Friday, or Overall Wednesday (maybe that’s just my dream dresscode…)? It’s extremely important to study your office culture and how other people dress. If you’re new to the job, look around; take notes of what people are wearing and what the culture is like.
Step 3: Pick your hero pieces
I’ll be the first to admit it so you don’t have to — my closet is overflowing with things, some items even with new price tags, but I go to the same five to 10 pieces in my closet. These are called my “hero” pieces. I know how they fit, I feel good in them, and I look #flawless in them too. Step three is to define what those pieces are for you because they will be the first pieces you will integrate into your work wardrobe.
Let’s go back to my beloved vintage biker tee. My sister thinks it’s heinous, it’s probably three sizes too big, but I love it. I knew this piece in particular was iffy to bring to a corporate job, so I dressed it up. I paired it with a super chic black blazer, a great pencil skirt and killer heels. Three out of four pieces, the blazer, pencil skirt and heels were professional, but I added a much-needed “Audree” flair with my hero piece, the tee. The same goes with my typical arm party and oversized costume rings—they add a “cool edge” to a simple shift dress and blazer.
My hero pieces help me get dressed quickly in the morning because I’m not trying to overanalyze or construct new outfits. They’re in my outfit rotation, they define who I am as the fashionable person I like to tell myself I am, and they’re easy.
Step 4: De-clutter
Now that you’ve defined your hero pieces, de-clutter your closet. If you haven’t worn something within the current season, or in the past year, remove it. Take out pieces that don’t match your personality or your hero pieces, are not wearable at work, or don’t fit you. Once you build a wardrobe that is versatile for work and play, with a few modifications of course, your getting ready routine will be seamless.
Also, every time I clean out my closet and de-clutter my life, I donate everything. There are so many organizations, especially women’s organizations, that would benefit deeply from your donations. And think, maybe it doesn’t work for your personal style, but it could be the exact piece someone else needs to land his or her dream job.
Step 5: Have Fun!
The final and most important step of all, have fun! Fashion and personal style should be fun so make it your own! Add bits of your personal flair to your business suit—it could be a fun printed blouse, a bold lipstick or earring. Start small (try the lipstick this week) and then get more adventurous (Overall Wednesdays anyone?).
For more personal style inspiration or if you want to catch my vintage biker tee, check out my blog, Simply Audree Kate and follow my social media Instagram (@simplyaudreekate) and Snapchat (@audreekate).