She Leads Africa

SLA Logo

7 fashionable pieces to shop for in varsity for the office life

[bctt tweet=”Start shopping for the office life while in university with these tips” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] Most people who make the transition from being a student to a working individual know the truth. Contrary to the popular notion that it gets better once you can tweet “pay day”, the financial side of your life won’t get any easier for a while… Those first few months will have you catching a case while you wait for the bank’s notification. With justifiable reason, companies that hire and place interns/trainees to low-earning entry-level posts expect them to dress in a way that’s not just fashionable but professional. School-leavers then face a huge challenge. How can you quickly adapt to the professional standards at the office while stuck with a very small rigid budget? After struggling to put together a ‘formal’ outfit for my very first presentation during my first year of varsity, I made up my mind to start shopping smart. I have become one of those people who spend hours in one shop, mixing and matching outfits, trying on tens of clothing items. Since then, I have learnt something new about shopping. It is fun and fabulous, but it is also a whole process on it’s own. Unless your budget stacks plenty of digits, you need to take your time and be strategic about it. Following some research in my own closet and on trending fashion blogs, I have 7 dress ideas for just-graduated women. 1. Wide leg pants Better known to me as palazzo pants. When I first spotted these in the market years ago, I didn’t think I could ever wear them. But when they came back in a whole variety of heavier fabric and colours, I couldn’t help myself. They had suddenly become more fashionable. I loved and got this simple but gorgeous high waist black pair early this year and I have been Olivia Pope’ing successfully since. For the office, you can go for a normal button-up shirt and throw on a blazer, complete the look with a simple neck-piece and graceful heels. Once you leave the office, you can ditch the shirt for a fun top and finish off the look with a pair of sandals or pumps. MotherlandMogul Tip: This is the best time to play around with different fabrics, try to keep your selection light because heavy fabrics tend to formalise most outfits. The benefit of owning a black pair of wide leg pants is that it makes it easier to play around with the colours of the top and shoes. Popular colour alternatives that are just as easy to transform between the two styles include beige, khaki, brown and rose gold. If wide leg pants aren’t your style, you can opt for the newly popular paper bag waist pants or classic straight leg formal pants. 2. Black pump I know a whole lot of girls that can testify that the black pump saved their lives, I know I can. Whether it is for the walk to the office or for school, this fashionable item can do it all. Not only are they durable if you take good care of them, but they are affordable and can be found almost everywhere. Remember to give them a good wipe down every now and then. Also, keep them in a cool place, dirty or smelly pumps don’t do much for anyone. [bctt tweet=”7 dress ideas for just-graduated women navigating office dress codes ” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] 3. Plain t-shirt That is actually a men’s shirt (yes, that can be fashionable for ladies too). I had bought it as a gift for a friend, but I found myself falling for it so I got him something else instead. I would suggest you settle for colours like white, grey and black or any light shade. If you can make any other bold colour work then by all means, go for it. You can finish off the shirt for both styles with dark accessories (depending on the shade of your shirt). For the office, it helps to cut the shirt off way up top, a high-waist skirt should do the trick. For a more laid back look, pair the boyfriend jeans with walker boots or pumps instead of heels and if it tickles your fancy, throw a kimono over the shirt. This look is especially convenient for when you have a casual occasion to attend after a short day at the office because you can quickly change out of the skirt into the jeans. 4. Court heels Where do I start? I absolutely love courts! Whether they are floral, lace-ups or just plain, these babies are beautiful and fashionable. Once you find your ideal pair, you’ll find that they go well with almost every outfit you can scramble together. When shopping for court heels, like with every other shoe, it is very important to shop your correct size! If you buy a size that’s too small for you, you might not have any toes after walking in them! The truth is, that pointed little front can be quite cruel to your feet, if you give your toes little to no room for movement. [bctt tweet=”Did you know a delicate chiffon shirt is one of the easiest pieces to style?” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] 5. Chiffon shirt Whether it is long sleeved or short, a delicate chiffon shirt is one of the easiest pieces to style. It is a very light piece of clothing so ideally, make sure you wear heavier bottoms with it. These type of shirts usually have some kind of detail along the neckline or collars so you need not worry much about accessorizing. Any plain pencil skirt works with this shirt. To bring the fashionable look together, add in a bold pair of platforms or boots. Platform and boot heels are usually heavier than any other heels for obvious reasons and like I said, the heavier your bottom, the better. For a casual look, switch the skirt for a blue denim. If your

Your guide to dressing in the workplace

Dressing matters. Entering the corporate world as a young lady, I struggled finding out what it takes to get ahead. Apart from being good at what I do, I was clueless in terms of being presentable and my dressing. I couldn’t decide if I needed to be sexy and fashionable until it hit me. Did it matter how I looked? Of course, yes!! How you dress matters, it actually matters a lot. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Dress up every day with the aim of creating a lasting first impression. In the corporate environment you meet different people every day and you never know who is studying you. The image you create greatly influences the way you are viewed in the office. With the primary goal being to “feel good” about the way I looked, I had to project a positive image. Feeling good about myself helped me naturally convey confidence and professionalism. It also gave me a positive attitude, which was all I needed to get ahead. Although there may be no set rules as to how one should dress, at times our choice is determined by our occupation or location. Your goal is to look the part, and for appearance to be consistent with the type of work you do. A college campus might be the perfect forum to show off the latest trends in fashion style, the office environment however, is not the place to do so. A conservative suit would be the recommended style for professional and managerial positions while overalls are for a construction job. I could go on and on about what to wear and what not to, avoiding too short skirts and wearing too much bling blah blah blah…we can all recite those off-head. To cut it all short here’s a few pointers to take note of from me;   1. Create your own brand Come up with an overall image you want to portray in the workplace. Then, go about buying and choosing the clothes that fit this image. Try mixing and matching casual, fun clothes with formal attire to add a personal flair to your style of clothing. Pair patterned or brightly-coloured tops to add a spark to a suit. You can also choose a patterned suit with a solid top. Just make sure what you choose to wear reflects a little of your personality.   2. Understand your body Know your body type and choose styles that show it off in a professional way. Wear clothing that is fitted and highlights your best physical features without being revealing or raunchy. To me, nothing is sexier than a woman who shows off her stuff while not showing bare skin. Dress to express who you are inside without baring your assets on the outside. Not only is wearing inappropriate clothing distracting, it can also give off an inaccurate impression. I’m curvy and gifted in all the right places, but trust me, I will never be caught in a short skimpy outfit. The office environment is not meant for that. Looking sexy is alright but do it in a classy-professional way.   3. Understand what’s appropriate in your industry Dressing culture varies from uniforms to suits and overalls depending on the line of business. Some businesses simply require employees to be more formal than others. In the fashion industry, models need to keep up with the latest trends however, corporate professionals are not taken seriously unless the show up in formal suits. Perceptions on dressing differ and office environments need to take into consideration both the clients and fellow industry professionals. You will have to understand and appreciate the perception your company dress code may have on all of these people.   4. Make sure your clothes ‘fit’ Appearance whether classy and confident or relaxed and trendy, is often reduced to how well clothes fits. If they are too big or too small, trust me they won’t look good on you. A proper fit applies to everything including clothing, the shoes, and the accessories. Baggy clothing will not highlight or enhance you in any way, instead it may make you look less professional or even heavier than you are. The same applies to smaller and tighter clothing. Makeup and hair can also negatively affect perceptions of women in the workplace, but that’s a tipping point for another day…