Dear Shopping Savage,
Every now and then when its in my budget I splurge on new work clothes and get great feedback and compliments from my co-workers, but mostly my "fashion sense" is overlooked. I don't need a compliment every day at work but I also don't need a silent reminder that I'm not dressed as nicely as everyone knows I can. So Shopping Savage, how can I maintain a stylish look for work without much effort or it costing me the fortune that I don't have?
Sometimes Work Hottie
Always appearing polished and well-dressed has little to do with new outfits and everything to do with consistency and attention to detail. If your budget is limited, then the best way to be consistent is to care for your work clothing. Start to invest in well-tailored separates and solid colored dresses instead of trendy pieces that are eye catching or easily identifiable. Plan to replace or repair anything that you wear to work that has stains, fraying hemlines or any other form of damage.
Spend the last 30-minutes before bed each night deciding on what you are going to wear for work the next day. (Take into account any meetings, lunch dates or after-work commitments.) Use accessories, layers (think cardigans, blazers, etc.), hair styles and even makeup to give old outfits a new look. Fashion magazines are great springboards for what trends are on the horizon, what to think about buying next, for DIY (do it yourself) fashion projects and how to re-imagine wearing your wardrobe as a whole.
For the first few days of this process, you may receive the kind of attention you are seeking, but once you begin to appear pulled-together for work each day you may notice a steep decline in the compliments. This generally happens when you raise the bar and meet your new (personal) standards on a daily basis. You seem to associate your co-workers accolades to the clothing you were wearing that day, when in fact, what they were picking up on was the positive energy emitting from you. If you are pleased with what you're wearing, it's written all over your demeanor; the same could be said for when you are not as happy with your appearance.
So don't wear something expressly for compliments because you may or may not get them. And don't beat yourself up over a "bad outfit" or point out all the flaws when someone pays you a compliment on something you weren't sure about. Untie your self-esteem from your wardrobe. Ultimately, what people are complimenting is you, not the outfit. So when someone acknowledges your outfit that day just say "thank you" with a smile. And when the day comes when the compliments aren't doled out when you believe they should be, still proceed through the day as if they were. Remember, the key here is consistency - not just for your outward appearance, but for your inner "appearance" as well.
Need sartorial advice? Email me: ShoppingSavage@gmail.com