Living in Chicago, dressing for business is a constant challenge. I need to have something professional, fashionable, yet able to be worn in a brutal winter or a hot summer. In addition, we women have an added challenge that men do not–all the fashion changes and rules! Men can wear a suit to any business function, but women have to consider skirt length, colors (is black too plain? is pink to bright?), and even whole outfits!
In some corporate cultures, “business” can range from a sweater and skirt to anything non-denim. If you’re not sure, it’s better to play it safe, and stick with a conservative business suit. This can be changed around depending on the weather (e.g. skirt instead of pants, sleeveless shell instead of a long sleeved button-down), and you’ll fit most professional situations. It is better to ask your professional coach about your personal business style.
Sure, this can be easy if you’re going from your house to an interview, but what if you’re going during your lunch hour? It’s happened to everyone–you dress up for work, and people start making jokes about you leaving.
I’ve learned a few creative tricks to keep them from finding out! These include:
1) Wear a business suit once a week. No one will suspect anything if you regularly dress up.
2) In cooler weather, take your blazer off with your coat, and hang them up together. As long as the rest of your outfit is business casual, no one will know.
3) Roll up your business jacket and put it in a bag. It’s less likely to wrinkle when rolled instead of folded.
4) Get your suit and/or blazer dry cleaned, and pick it up on the way to the interview. It’ll be in tip-top shape, and you’ll likely be able to use the cleaner’s dressing room to change.