When I first started working, one of the biggest shocks to my system was how uncomfortable professional clothes proved to be. Between the heels that pinched my feet, the zippers that dug into my unfortunately ever-growing tummy (I blame the Chinese takeout restaurant that was next to my first apartment out of college), and the perfectly coiffed updos that were required of me, going to work hurt. Every morning, I’d get ready for the day and dread having to put on one annoying article of clothing after another. It was torture. I’d get home after a long, ten hour day and practically disrobe in the elevator. “Thank GOD,” I’d say each and every day as I walked into my home and kicked off my shoes. The next twelve hours were filled in some sort of sweatpant (and Chinese food) heaven, until the morning would come and the cycle would repeat itself all over again.
These days, I now work from home and my “work clothes” now consist of leggings and slippers -- a far cry from where my professional wardrobe began. And while some days I admittedly spend unshowered and in sweat pants, there are days that require me to leave the forgiving walls of my home. Though I’m no longer yammering up and down the marble halls of D.C. in uncomfortable skirt suits and Sarah Palin hairdos, I do have to visit various different kinds of companies in order to meet with clients -- and unfortunately, my sweatpants are not welcome at any of them. That being said, I’ve still successfully figured out a way to keep things both comfortable AND stylish -- and I’m here to share my secret with you.
Suit Not Required
Most of the offices I visit fall somewhere between a suit and tie kind of place and one where shorts are acceptable. Not too fancy, not too casual -- the kind of office environment that Goldilocks would like. So, whenever I visit one of these places, I like to keep it simple. My go to outfit is the one seen above (or some variation of it because despite working from home, I still only get around to doing laundry once a week...and that’s on a good week) and includes my Sleek Cheeks Leggings, a loose blouse, a fun statement necklace, pointed flats (which help to elongate your body), simple makeup, and a casual updo. The outfit is not only comfortable, but it always, always, always receives compliments. It’s cute, it’s sporty, and it’s the perfect amount of professional. Plus, it doubles as the best-ever date night outfit.
Trendy and Fabulous
Whenever I have a meeting at one of those amazingly cool boutique firms, I always use it as an excuse to really dress the part. Because most of my days consist of zero makeup (truly, I do feel bad for my boyfriend...but not enough to justify wasting my overpriced foundation) and a bathrobe, I love having the excuse to dress up and put on real clothes. For those ladies who actually work every day at one of those companies who expect perfectly polished employees, however, I can see how it could get tiresome. So, take my advice and incorporate the above look into your weekly routine -- it’s simple, it’s fast, it’s comfortable, and most importantly, no one will realize that your pants aren’t actually slacks. All you need to complete the look is a pair of Sleek Cheeks Leggings, a silky tank, a blazer in a color that isn’t black (I chose white for this photo because I live in Texas and it is already HOT), some fun arm candy, strappy heels, and statement makeup. The big hair, of course, is optional -- but I’ll say it again: Texas.
One of the fabulous things about startups is that they’re casual. Like, super casual. Walk into a startup and you’re more likely to see sleeves of tattoos than actual sleeves. Basically, when it comes to workplace attire, anything goes. When I worked at a startup, my go-to outfit was a a casual tank coupled with a long sweater, my favorite boots (or sandals), a fabulously teased “Elsa” braid, and a pair of Booty Patootie Bootcuts. It’s comfortable, it’s casual, and it allows you to curl up on the break room couch with your laptop and your kale smoothie.
No Shoes. No Suit. No Service.
While many companies are becoming more and more casual every day, not every workplace can do business with its employees dressed in cargo shorts and tennis shoes. Nope. Some places still require blazers and heels. Whenever I meet with a client in a more corporate setting, my instinct is to flash back to my days on The Hill and then have a full-fledged panic attack due to memories of pantyhose. But luckily, armed with what I know now, I can avoid the panic attack -- and also the nylons. You see, just because a company requires its employees to dress up, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to bend the rules. Looking at the photo above, you’d have no idea that those pants are the Booty Patootie Bootcuts and not actual slacks. Pair your favorite HYH pants with a work top, a blazer, and a pair of sensible heels and no one will ever know that unlike everyone else, you’re actually at work and super comfortable.