Your alarm goes off at 6:30 AM. After hitting the snooze button a few times, you’re already facing a tough decision: What should you wear?
For many people, it can be a tough balance to look great but at the same time not go over the top. Sure, there’s a time and place for a diamond necklace, high heels, and elegant dress, but for the most part, that’s not the appropriate outfit on a typical day.
Finding and balancing the right outfit can be a true battle at times, and, depending on where you work or what you do all day, there’s no absolute correct answer for everyone. The focus of this article will be for those who work in a semi-casual setting such as a receptionist, business person, or even a teacher who wants to look good . . . just not too good.
Many people like to spice up their look with jewelry, but like any piece of clothing, jewelry can be an item that may too easily be overdone. When you’re choosing jewelry to wear, a basic rule to follow is, the nicer the item, the less it should be seen.
For example, everyone knows that diamonds are one of the, if not the, “fanciest” kinds of jewelry. Because of that, a large diamond necklace or earrings can come across in many settings as too much.
If you feel the need to go with diamonds, a tennis bracelet balances the reality of a diamond with the subtle size and casualness of a smaller bracelet.
On the flip side, a plastic or wooden style of jewelry can be about as big as you like. The jewelry that can be bought at any store or on Etsy typically is casual enough to be worn without worrying whether it is over the top or not.
A Gucci dress and a Members Mark T-shirt from Sam’s Club are about as opposed to each other as it’s possible to be in the clothing market. Both would also be inappropriate to wear at work or the grocery store, most of the time.
However, if you flip the brand with the clothing, everything changes. A Gucci T-shirt is certainly not on the same level as a dress, but the brand is so respected, that the shirt gets a pass.
The same goes for a cheaper brand with a nicer style of clothing. A dress (still casual) with a lesser-known brand can pass and not be regarded as too fancy.
The same goes for shoes. Outside of wearing Crocs or stilettos, the branding of the shoes could make your footwear either appropriate, too casual, or over the top.
Whether it is a backpack, purse, or even just a folder, accessories can go a long way in guiding the overall feel of what you’re wearing. A completely appropriate outfit could sway either direction, depending on how the accessories appear.
A casual gym bag may make an otherwise classy outfit look lazy and inappropriate. A neon pink Chanel purse could do just the opposite.
As far as makeup goes, it’s a little difficult to go either too easy or hard. With so many potential styles, if the rest of the outfit is appropriate, you run a lower risk of overdoing it with the makeup.
Compared to twenty years ago, dress code and expectations have dramatically changed. Not long ago, most companies had a fairly strict expectation of what employees would be allowed to wear to work.
Today, with most jobs, the dress code is much more open to interpretation. Checking with a supervisor or boss about whether a particular style is appropriate is always a wise move.
Most are likely to be okay with whatever you wear, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the company or become a distraction to other workers.