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Office Fashion for the Young Professional

Style Diaries with Michelle Zhao

If you’re a young professional out there, whether that be still in college or just graduated, you know how stressful it can be to find a job or internship. However, maybe something even more stressful (for some) is trying to decide what to wear to work after getting that job or internship. Before that, it was always “wear whatever you like” and “wear whatever makes you feel good” but now there’s a dress code to follow (like in middle or high school except stricter). To add on to that, there’s that moment when you realize around the time when everyone goes back-to-school shopping for clothes, you have to decide what to buy to wear to work. Well, here’s the start of a blog series about office “fashion” for the young professionals out there.

The first step to buying clothes for work is to know what the atmosphere is like at the office. Some may be business casual while others might be business professional. It never hurts to wear business professional to be safe if you don’t know yet. To throw another curve ball, some people have different definitions of what business causal means but there is a unanimous definition of what business professional means, more or less. Start out with business professional until you know what parts of the dress code are more lenient and where you are able to add your own style to it.

The easiest items to go for are, of course, the button-down shirt with a collar. Men and women in almost every field or industry wear the classic collared button-down shirt for work. It can be business casual or business professional depending on how and with what you wear it. It’s best to find one that’s fitted but not too tight (and this applies to both men and women). Your own personal touch comes into play when you decide how to style it into the work outfit. Appropriate bottoms could be trousers, skirts, or even shorts, if they’re allowed. The thing to remember is that there is no one “look” that everyone should adhere to. Even for those not into “fashion” necessarily, they still have a “style” and that doesn’t have to be hidden away behind work clothes!

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