How to Look Great for Work Every Day

How to Look Great for Work Every DayReaders, what are your best tips for how to to look great for work every day? What do you think is the key to being consistently polished and put together? I was talking about this with someone recently and some of my top tips would be these six below — but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

1. Wear a good bra.

If you want to see an immediate improvement in your appearance, get a new bra that fits well — everything you wear looks better! This tip is especially a good tip for busty women, but it’s true for everyone.

2. Watch for poor fit in general.

Are your blazer sleeves too long and grazing your knuckles? Is your skirt too short? Are your pants hems dragging on the ground, are your pants or skirts “smiling” because they’re too tight, or are they gaping or twisting because they’re too loose? Some people will say “tailor everything!” — and while that’s a great way to look like a million bucks, it can also COST a million bucks. So I say that even if tailoring isn’t in the cards for you, make sure you understand fit — and when something is fitting you POORLY.

3. Take care of your clothes and accessories.

Are your shoes scuffed or in need of a polish or cleaning? Does your skirt, blazer, or handbag have loose threads hanging down? Are your pants wrinkled with dirt on the hem? Is your blouse in need of ironing? Attention to little details like this can make a big difference in making or breaking your appearance for work.

4. Know your shapes.

Specifically, know the classic shapes that work best on you — and don’t be afraid to adopt a uniform or capsule wardrobe that features those pieces. (At the very least, have one or two outfits that you KNOW look great — whether you call those your power outfits, your safe outfits — you can even grab them for help looking great the day after the all nighter at work.) Sheath dress, shift dress, A-line dress — do you know which one looks best on your body, and why? What is the best pants look for you — trousers, ankle pants, boot cut pants, or straight leg styles? Be ruthless in assessing it!

5. Have a great office hairstyle that works with you at least 90% of the time — and keep your hair maintained.

Get frequent cuts so you don’t have straggly, split ends, and if frizz is a problem for you, do what you can to control it — consider a keratin treatment, a regular moisturizing hair mask, or an easy office updo that’s easy for you to do and comfortable to wear. (That may even be a ponytail, although I would argue that an overly high ponytail or a cheerleader ponytail is not appropriate for work … but readers have definitely disagreed with me on that, so you know your office! To be 100% clear: You can have gray hair, curly hair, long hair, natural hair, etc., but if you find that your hair is a distraction for you more than 10% of the time once you’re at work, either because you find yourself playing with it, redoing it, annoyed by it, or in pain by it (raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten a headache from a ponytail!), you should probably find a better office hairstyle.

6. Have great posture.

We just talked about ways to improve your posture — and it really makes a huge difference in how you look for work. You can try a posture helper like Lumo Lift, being mindful, focusing on good ergonomics in your office, and other tricks.

Ladies, what are your best tips for how to look great for work every day? Would you add anything to my list — or take anything away?

Picture credit: Shutterstock / S_L.How to Look Great for Work Every Day - image of woman in a blue blazer

Wondering how to look great for work EVERY DAY? We rounded up our top six tips to look polished, put together, and professional on a regular basis.

Comments

  1. Good shoes. Make sure your shoes are comfortable enough for you to walk well in them. I see so many women in shoes that they can’t walk in – it destroys the look even if everything else is perfect.

    Another thing for me is to just try to pay attention to those “I feel awesome in this” days and to repeat as often as possible and vice versa. Today I decided to wear a dress I invariably regret wearing almost every single time; I need to not wear it anymore! Other days, I’ll wear something, down to my earrings, the exact same way and always feel great. I have to remind myself that it’s fine to wear that once a week.

    I agree a good hairstyle helps. It shouldn’t be necessary but on the days my hair looks great, everything else I am wearing looks better.

    Small grooming bits help too – neat nails, skin/makeup/whatever, all that stuff.

    • You should toss the dress you wore today – it does not spark joy!

      • I should. It’s DvF and I always read about how “every woman needs a DvF wrap dress in her closet,” but of the two I have, I never seem to enjoy wearing them.

        • Then I would definitely dump them. The nice thing about DvF is that they generally have decent resale value if that’s your thing (or it may make you feel less annoyed about getting rid of them).

        • Lana del Ray Gun :

          That might be the most specific “every woman needs…” I’ve ever heard. Do wrap dresses serve a unique sartorial function, the way LBDs do?

  2. New Tampanian :

    Really feeling the bra comment right now. Every time I wear this dang bra. Every. Time.

    • Lana del Ray Gun :

      Right? I need to buy new ones, but I think my size has changed, and the whole topic just seems like so. much. work.

    • Anonymous :

      Get fitted at Soma. They know what they are doing and the bras last forever.

      • Definitely get fitted, but try if you tend to fall on the large (or small, too!) side, get fitted at a Nordstrom or other retailer that has no single brand allegiance and has access to the full range of sizes. Soma has recently expanded their offerings, but they still have a relatively low upper limit of cup/band size combos, and may try to fit you into their largest size to make a sale (VS does this a lot, everyone walks out thinking they are the largest size they offer when in fact they are 2 band sizes and 5 cup sizes larger).

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes. I went to a fancy independent bra store and they had a ton of options and fixed me up with something that fit really well.

        • Anonymous :

          VS thinks I’m a DDD (literally their biggest cup size). Haha, nope.

          • Same. 36HH here, which in US sizes (I have to buy UK) is really like an L. Oh, VS. So precious.

        • Anonymous :

          I am tiny (like 30 band size) and found Nordstrom in my Top25 city to be better than the specialty stores. The specialty stores have been gold for my larger busted friends. The specialty stores seemed to think that someone my size only wanted unlined bras and I am the sort of person who is really cold, all the time.

          • I am the same and used to wear heavily lined bras that distorted my shape too much. Now I wear unlined bras and Bezi bra discs. Life changing.

      • I hate Soma. They don’t fit me at all. Something about their cuts doesn’t work for me. They tried to sell me one with extra padding at the top to “fill out the top” and no, the issue is that it doesn’t fit my shape, not that I need extra padding to “correct” my shape! I actually do like VS – I fit well into some of their styles (I absolutely love the Body by Victoria demi, which isn’t padded at all), but I fit within their standard size range (no question since I’ve been sized at multiple stores).

    • New Tampanian :

      Was fitted this time last year so comfortable with the sizing. Hoping maybe thirdlove works for me.

    • I agree with all of these comments. I let the manageing partner dress me by approving of what I want to wear each day. Each day, before I leave, I tell the manageing partner what I will be wearing the next day, and he gives me a thumps up, meaning YES, or a thumps down, meaning NO. When he says NO, I got to Plan B, and then make an alternate suggestion. Most of the time, he is right, but he is especialy insistent I wear what he wants when we go out to eat with the Judge. I think I know what the manageing partner wants, so I generally get thumps up from him w/o haveing to go to Plan B. I encourage the entire HIVE to have YOUR manageing partner work with you to dress you properly. YAY!!!!!

  3. I love this article. I started my career in corporate law as a complete and total mess. I used to roll out of bed, grab whatever, and run into work. I once (no lie) came into work without a bra (I am a G!) because I just wasn’t paying attention. What?! It was holding me back in a major way, and I knew I need to change. I set aside $5k (a lot of money for me) and totally redid my wardrobe. I threw almost everything out. I bought $1k just in good bras (when you are big up top, the best bras are expensive).

    Here are my tips (in addition to the ones in the post):

    1. Thoughtful buying – For me, that meant that I had to stop buying clothes because they were heavily discounted and therefore a “good deal”. I only buy clothes that I need, are made well, that FIT well, etc.

    2. Become friends with a tailor – I don’t just get expensive clothes tailored. Almost everything I buy is tailored. Yes, it is expensive. But it makes even mid-price clothes look expensive and so much better.

    3. Hose – This was good for me, but may not be for everybody. Wearing hose made me look so much better and more conservative. I also avoid open toe shoes – which again is a personal preference, but makes me feel more in command at work.

    4. Jewelry/Watch – I bought studs (fake, but made well) and a nice watch. I wear them every day.

    For me, the biggest change was getting rid of worn shoes (no beat up heels) and totally revamping my shopping to avoid splurge buys that don’t really make sense in the long run.

    All of above + hard/good work turned my career around.

    • I went through a similar process, with a very positive impact on my career.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree with this so much–what a great list. The bullet point on hose is a really good one. The way you quantified is good as well–not for everyone but it really is a confidence boost to me. Along with my confidence, it also mitigates the freezing office dilemma, and really makes me feel completely put together. Totally get that not everyone agrees with this, but I appreciate the inclusion of this point–because I am with you on it being a difference maker.

  4. I would also add replace worn out items. Something I now endeavour to do especially with handbags, they can remain functional but some parts like straps start fraying, better to replace a piece like this if it’s meant for work.

    Shopping TJ: How well do Uniqlo jeans/denim hold up, I tried some in the Toronto store, the skinny jeans with extra stretch in black, considering getting them but worried that they might lose shape or stretch out too much after sometime. I am fairly gentle with my clothes but have had this problem with other jeans so this is why I ask. Also curious about how good their “Heattech” thermal pants are e.g. does the color run? Anyone with experience with these please comment below

    • Anonymous :

      I got the same Uniqlo jeans (but years ago, so they may have changed). Mine did stretch out, so buying the smallest size I could squeeze into worked out well for me.

      It really bothers me how quickly straps start fraying. When getting rid of old items, I found a Nine West purse from the 90s that had been my standby through high school and college. It was certainly worn out, but the straps looked just fine. I guess I am old enough to have unrealistic expectations about bag straps?

      • Ann Marie :

        I had the same problem with straps fraying. I now only buy higher quality more expensive brands. Yes it is more money but you can have them for years whereas the less expensive bags (like Nine West) have to be replaced every 3-6 months because the straps fray.

        I got a really nice leather Ralph Lauren handbag in TJ Maxx. It was $150 but I have had it for a few years now and it is still holding up. No fraying straps, no wearing, etc.

    • My heattech purchases have not run or faded. They also haven’t stretched out or really worn out at all.

      Word of warning – if you want the leggings to not be see-through, wait for the heattech extra warm ones to come back. Just as thin and comfy, but much more opaque

    • Baconpancakes :

      I am so terrible at this. I have a pair of black flats that are “still perfectly good” but really should’ve been replaced a solid two years ago.

      • Anonymous :

        Same! I’ve kept these ones way past their due date. I finally got around to throwing them out after I wore them to a meeting next week and was wondering what smelled funny, then realized it was my old/gross shoes . . .

  5. Related to looking great for work – How do you hem clothes in an emergency situation? I’m leaving town and the maxi I want to wear on the plane is too long with flats. Yes, I should have had it altered in advance but haven’t yet. Has anyone used hem tape/ stitch witchery stuff with any success? Thanks.

    • Is it soft enough to fold over at the waistband?

    • That stuff is great. I use it regularly on lighter weight/ unlined fabrics. My mom used it when I was growing up for uniform alterations, she’d add a few proper stitches to help it hold up through the wash. Then, when the mid-year growth spurt hit, it was easy let out the hem on skirts and pants.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve used staples in a pinch for pants.

    • Anonymous :

      This: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CE8JPQ/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      The Micro Stitch by Avery Denninson works in a pinch when I have a hem that falls out or I need to shorten the hem of something on the fly.

  6. Annony Moose :

    For me, what works is:

    1. Organizing my clothes the night before. I iron almost everything I wear to work, so getting an outfit ready and ironed the night before is a big time saver. The outfit goes on a big hook on my closet door, and this allows me to double-check that everything goes together.

    2. I started following a clothing blog. Actually, I used to follow several, but I found one with a system that really works for me. Now I buy fewer pieces of clothing, but better quality. And nearly every piece of clothing goes with most of the rest of my clothing, which makes putting together a coordinated outfit much, much easier.

    3. Paying attention to accessories. For years, I didn’t really bother about accessories. I had a watch; I wore that watch every day. I had a few pairs of earrings; I rotated through them every week. I had one handbag, one totebag, and used them until they fell apart. I had one pair of “work” shoes and wore them with everything. My clothes were neat and clean–what more could anyone expect?

    Now I have a greater variety of accessories, including scarves, more shoes, a few necklaces, a couple of rings. I can tell it makes a difference–the days I am more pulled-together, I get a lot of compliments on how I look.

    • Anonymous :

      Re #2 – totally agree regarding your clothing matching. Long ago I decided on my personal colour scheme. My base neutral is black and I also wear grey, cream, olive, and blue. Everything I own generally goes together because I don’t really deviate from that colour scheme.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you share the blog?

      • Annony Moose :

        Are we allowed to post info about other blogs here? I don’t mind sharing, but am not sure what the rules are here.

        • What clothing blog do you follow? :

          Yeah, people talk about other blogs in the comments all the time.

    • What clothing blog do you follow? :

      You mentioned you follow a clothing blog with a system that works for you — what is it? I think I’m looking for something similar..

      • Annony Moose :

        It’s The Vivienne Files. http://www.theviviennefiles.com/

        She has a system where you have one or two neutral colors to form the base of your wardrobe, and then add in 2-4 accent colors to fill things out. If you visit the blog, do read the older entries where she talks about the Common Wardrobe and the Starting From Scratch way of getting a wardrobe assembled.

        It’s a very flexible system–when she says that the Common Wardrobe contains a black turtleneck sweater, she explains that she mean everyone should choose a “go-to” sweater–it could be gray, or a v-neck, or brown, or a crewneck–the point being that a basic sweater in a neutral color that works with the majority of your clothes is a good thing to have. She also has pointers for how many tops you need for how many bottoms, that sort of thing.

        Lately, she is more into taking something as an inspiration for the colors in a wardrobe and doing lots of little mini-wardrobes.

        It’s a variation on the classic French capsule wardrobe thing, but she has some worksheets/checklists to help you figure things out. And she includes lots of accessories, which I was never good at buying or using, so that has helped me a lot.

  7. Anonattorney :

    Sick of the “no frizz” comments. To be clear: curly hair and natural hair is “frizzy.” There’s not much we can do about it. I’m not going to slick down my hair with a handful of gel, or pay regularly for expensive keratin treatments, simply because people are more comfortable with straight, non-frizzy hair.

    • Anonymous :

      +1

      I wear my curls in their glorious natural state. There’s frizz. They can be messy. It’s just what curly hair is.

    • Anonymous :

      Especially true recently in my area – the humidity here has been insane lately and other than wearing a hat or slicking my hair back like Don Jr., there is nothing I can do about the frizz. Everyone else needs to GTF over it.

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed. I live in a climate where my hair frizzes whenever I think about going outside. That said, sometimes my hair is frizzy and looks put together, but sometimes it looks like I just rolled out of bed. I can’t put my finger on the difference but, at least for me, there is a difference.

    • Yes, unfortunately, some women with tightly coiled hair are so committed to frizz-free edges that they end up damaging them, sometimes to the point of no return. Frizz is what it is.

    • Annony Moose :

      I just got my hair cut really short–and discovered that when it’s short, it’s curly!

      After having spent years trying to make wavy hair straight for the one-length bob everyone told me was the only style my hair could do, I am thrilled with the curls, even if they come with a little frizz. My hair is so much easier to take care of and to style. And I am not spending the day worrying that my hair looks messy again. Now, when it gets messy, it still looks good! Bring on the frizz!

    • Unfortunately, so does straight hair (at least mine does). Mousse does wonders to prevent the small cloud of hair that otherwise would surround my head. I can’t speak to the experience of folks with curly and/or natural hair, obviously.

      • Anonymous :

        My hair used to do this. I learned that (a) my hair is actually reasonably wavy/curly when it’s quite short, (b) even when it’s longer, I get better results if I care for it as if it’s curly (especially gentle, very low-sulfate shampoo).

      • Linda from HR :

        My straight hair was very frizzy when I was in middle school. After trying a bunch of products, I loved Frizz-ease and used it for years, but I also worked on taking amazing care of my hair, using good shampoos and conditioners and avoiding ironing or even blow-drying my hair (I’ll let the stylist do it, but I always let my hair air dry). Recently, I’ve found that BB’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil is a godsend for smoothing my hair when it’s poofy.

  8. Anonymous :

    Set out your outfit the night before!! That avoids you throwing on whatever is clean in a rush in the morning. If I’m not sure about an outfit I’ll take the time to try it on the night before, plan my accessories, etc, so there’s no indecision in the morning. I know I’ll look better if I plan it out beforehand.

  9. Shopaholic :

    Buying more intentionally and making sure I get rid of clothes that don’t fit well instead of putting them back into my closet is key. If everything fits well and looks good on, it’s a lot easier to get dressed in a hurry and still look polished. Although hair and basic key is key, I think. My hair is in a weird, growing out stage and I feel like I look less put together now, than when my hair is at a better, more flattering length.

    • Linda from HR :

      Yep, I try to make a point of buying a new dress once one of my usual go-to dresses starts to feel tight or look shabby, so I can cycle it out once it’s no longer wear-able while still feeling like I have enough good work clothes.

  10. Anonymous :

    Any suggestions for work hairstyles that aren’t a bun or ponytail? I have medium-long hair (past my shoulders) and it’s very thick, it holds styles well. I feel like I would look more put together if I did a proper hairstyle but it usually just ends up in a bun or topknot. I’m so lazy.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, those are definitely go-tos. I also sometimes put it only partly up, and pull the top 1/3 or so up and bobby pin it at the crown of my head. That’s where my creativity hits it’s limit though — all of these “wear to work!” hairstyles that magazines put out there are waaaaaay to casual/creative for my conservative office.

    • Side twist — not sure what it’s really called. I part my hair to the side and twist the smaller side away from my face, tucking it into itself, adding in hair from the small side as I go back toward the back of my head. Then I twist all of my hair back into a bun and secure with two spin pins. Takes like 2 minutes.

    • Lana del Ray Gun :

      What about giant hair clips? IME they’re as convenient as buns, but less plain (although sometimes more casual).

    • Annony Moose :

      When my hair was long, I used to do a french braid down the back, and then tuck the end of the braid up under the part that was braided close to my scalp. Depending on how tightly you braid, it will either stay up on its own, or maybe you might need a hairpin to hold it in place.

  11. Senior Attorney :

    Threadjack: I have the morning free in Manhattan on Wednesday before a 1:00 lunch date in SoHo. My flight gets in to JFK at 7:30 and I’m staying near the Empire State Bldg. Any fun ideas for how to while away a few hours in the Big Apple?

    • Anon in NYC :

      An obvious answer is to go to the top of the Empire State Building, if you haven’t been before. Touristy, yes, but the views are amazing. Alternatively, you’re not far from Bryant Park. You could walk up there and go to the New York Public Library.

    • Will you be able to check into your hotel when you get in? If so, I would get into the city, check in and freshen up a little, then go out to have some coffee and maybe a small snack. Then I’d head to the Rubin Museum in Chelsea (between midtown & Soho) to catch their exhibit on sound. The Rubin museum is teeny, so getting there when it opens at 11 and making lunch in Soho at 1 is perfect timing.

      http://rubinmuseum.org/events/exhibitions/the-world-is-sound

    • Anonymous :

      You could check in/drop off luggage, then public library, then jump on a subway (4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge) to Arcade bakery for iced coffee and a pastry then walk slowly up to SoHo or check out occulus before SoHo.

  12. Linda from HR :

    What do people think about haircolor roots? I get my hair professionally colored, it’s naturally brown and I get it dyed red. I normally let the roots grow an inch or so, and stop using color protecting shampoo once the roots are long enough to be noticeable, so the color fades to look more like my natural color. Of course, this probably isn’t a very polished look, and in my somewhat casual office being “polished” at all times isn’t super important, but I’m wondering, at what point do roots even in a causal office make you tsk and shake your head in disapproval?

    • Flats Only :

      I think that 1/2 inch of roots, or less, is excusable, as that represents about 1 month’s growth. HOWEVER, if there is a big contrast between the roots and the colored part of the hair, you need to aim for more frequent coloring. As with all beauty treatments, don’t get something done that you can’t maintain. So if you can only afford a $300 color job twice a year, don’t get the $300 job and then just let it grow out in between.

    • Lana del Ray Gun :

      Honestly, I have never tsked at roots in any context. When I was younger, I thought dark roots on platinum hair was just a Look. Maybe this just means I’m not the target demographic of your survey, though.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My roots are gray and I think they look awful, so I’m at the hairdresser every three weeks. And I do look askance at gray roots on other people.

      But brown roots in red or blonde dye job? I feel like that’s become pretty mainstream and although it’s not my cup of tea I wouldn’t tsk much until I gets past an inch or so.

      • Canadian Lawyer :

        I also have gray roots but am able to stretch out colors to 4 or 5 weeks with this stuff. It’s not a perfect match but close enough.
        http://m.sephora.com/product/P282611?skuId=1765544&om_mmc=ppc-GG_378477159_27752557839_pla-56128534817_1765544_95787538359_9030938_m&country_switch=us&lang=en&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI65f18umk1QIVFbjACh3wVw0xEAQYASABEgIGu_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

  13. Yes to the bras. Also camis esp. if you are big up top. I like the added layer and most of my bras have seams or patterns (my go-to is the Panache Tango, which is a great bra but has a leaf pattern on the cups that shows through tops).

    Also, foundation garments on the bottom. Today it’s underarmour compression shorts. Sometimes Spanx, sometimes Assets. Just something to keep it all smooth and non-jiggly.

    Hate to say it but also, makeup, but mostly if you have a skin thing like I do (rosacea). So maybe I’ll sub makeup for skincare. I do think it helps my overall professional look when I am not red and blotchy.

    A watch, necklace, and small earrings I think pull together just about any outfit.

    Also agree that shoes should be in good shape. That is something I am working on.

    Also a lint roller in your office, esp if you have pets.

    Natural fibers help. Bottoms with structure (wovens or heavy knits).

    Neat fingernails. And I never want to see your toes.

    Keeping things in good condition – no stains, pulls, holes, or stretched out things.

    I could go on and on. Getting dress and looking good take more time than anyone thinks!

    • Linda from HR :

      I agree with the tip about Spanx, or similar slimming garment, if you’re wearing a pencil or sheath dress, but I’ve found they’re not necessary for anything with a flared skirt, like an A-line.

      • Hmmm, I don’t wear shapewear. It sounds soooo constricting (and I’m all about the sheath dress). I have kids so I probably should be wearing shapewear, but I also like to breath and I am worried about muffin top.

  14. cat socks :

    There’s certain outfits that make me feel great and I basically replicate those. In the summmer it’s fit and flare dresses. The are comfortable and work with my body type. I work in a casual office, so the ones from Land’s End work fine.

    I also have a pair of ponte knit pants that I wear with patterned blouses, a cardigan and flats.

    In the winter, I usually wear jeans or ponte leggings with knee high boots and a knit top. They are practical for the the snowy weather where I live, but I would like to add some ankle boots.

    I don’t feel comfortable in heels so I’ve been investing in flats. Heels would also be out of place in this casual environment.

    I’m also all about comfort. When I was younger I would suffer through wearing uncomfortable shoes or fussy clothes, but now I like clothes that fit well and feel good.

    I basically wear a uniform of different types of clothing that I love. It may be boring, but if I feel good and confident then I’m all set.

  15. Anonymous :

    Keep your work shoes nice by keeping them at the office! I have pairs that have literally never seen the outside world. I wear commuting shoes (like Skechers or winter boots) to and from the office.

    • YES! I’ve made shoes last 5+ years with daily wear indoors only.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I’ve started doing that this summer – I realized I was doing the most damage to my pointy-toe flats in the garage and surrounding sidewalks. It’s helped so much.

  16. Anonymist :

    I know we’ve talked about hose before, but I’m still perplexed. I work in a warm part of the U.S. – like 101-103 degrees daily. I am in my fifties and a manager. Starting a new job with thirty-somethings. My legs are very big, pale, and have the scars of life – Mohs surgery, veins, mosquito bite scars, etc. They just don’t look good pale under a dress. But am I looking like the office old lady if I wear nude or black hose every day in this heat?
    Grrrr.

    • Definitely no black hose in the summer. Lots of people still wear nude hose though I’m not one of them. I have scars, mosquito bites, bumps and all kinds of bruises but I just accept them.

    • Anonymous :

      Sally Hansen Airbrush legs is great, if you want coverage without wearing hose.

    • The nude ones are fine, but don’t wear the black ones in the summer– that will make you look/seem older. In the fall/winter, the black ones are fine.

      • +1. I really believe that if you buy nice stockings that match your skin tone no one will even notice if you’re wearing them. Not to say it will look like you’re not, but that no one will be thinking about it one way or another.

        • Anonymous :

          I really agree with this.

          It costs more, but the stockings that look like you aren’t wearing anything if you can find ones that truly match your skin tone are really great.

          • 27 year old biglaw associate in the southeast and I love hose. I am pretty pale and hate getting self tanner on my clothes (even airbrush legs seems to leave a residue) and if I get a sheer pair of stockings that is about one shade darker than my skin tone I feel SO much more professional and comfortable – bonus for thigh highs in the summer.

          • Ann Marie :

            I agree. I am in my 30s but I always wear stockings. I don’t care what anyone says. And no one even realizes I am wearing them. I told my friend the other day I had on stockings and she was shocked. As long as you aren’t wearing a color that is too drank or too light for your skin tone, no one will notice and your legs will look infinitely better. Otherwise, just wear pants because no one wants to look his or her co-workers veins and mosquito bites.

          • +1 for hose if you like them. I’m jealous of people who can wear thigh highs without them sliding down. I don’t know what it is about my legs, but they just don’t work for me. And garter belts are too lumpy for today’s thin, clingy fabrics, not to mention just adding another layer to fuss with.

    • Moonstone :

      I’m in your demographic with similar issues. Sometimes I go bare-legged, but I am uncomfortably cold in the office. Sometimes I wear these: http://www.hue.com/fashion-tights/hue-basic-fishnet-tights.htm in nude (beige). They provide enough coverage on my legs to make me feel comfortable.

  17. Agree with these tips. I’ll add: have one emergency no-fuss outfit for crap, rushed days. For me, that’s a wrap dress that does not need a cami or accessories.

    • Annony Moose :

      One thing I sometimes do, when I know the week ahead is going to be very busy, is to organize several outfits at one time, usually on Sunday afternoon. If its looking like a really bad week, I’ll do all 5 outfits for the week. Just takes one more thing off my mind.

  18. From my perspective, the best way to look good consistently is to get rid of everything that doesn’t look good. I’m amazed that I do so much better with a relatively limited set of professional wear, weekend wear, formal wear, etc.

    Like others here, I find it helps to have a narrow color palette: lots of navy and black dresses, sleek blazers, neutral / black footwear, a wine-colored leather satchel, and sculptural silver jewelry. Over the years, I have found what works for me, and everything falls into place much more easily these days.

  19. Ann Marie :

    In order to look good everyday:

    1. Pick your outfits in advance. Every Sunday I look at the weather and my calendar for the week. Then I choose all my outfits for that week and iron them all. This allows me to inspect them for dirt, holes, stains, wearing, etc. I have found a stain on more than one occasion while ironing on a Sunday. A sure fire way to look disheveled is to grab something in the morning and throw it on.

    2. Make sure you are wearing the right colors for your hair color and skin tone. People suggest neutrals for ease but many neutrals can make you look old and washed out if you are not pairing them with a color near your face. The right colors can make your face light up. If you aren’t sure what colors look best on you, then photograph yourself in various colored tops. The camera never lies. It will become immediately apparent what colors wash you out and what colors brighten you up.

    • I find those capsules of neutrals with a smattering of accessories really boring and actually seem like more work to me. Not all greys, navy, cream, etc look the same or even go together as separates so I personally found the “just wear neutrals” advice never very helpful. I was looking at the Vivienne files link posted above and the recent post she did on peridot is all over the place in that she had some picks that were more lime green and some that were more olive. The exact shade of green really makes a difference a lot of lime greens make me look physically ill.

    • Maybe I’m an emotional dresser, but how do you know what you want to wear days in advance? Some days I feel bloated so nothing fitted in the waist. Others I feel great so try to wear something that reflects that. The weather changes, or my work schedule, so my outfit does as well. And sometimes I wear something mood related, or my feet hurt so my outfit needs to be flats friendly or whatever. Yeah, it’s more time consuming in the morning, but it makes me feel better during the day to wear something that complements how that day is going.

      • Ann Marie :

        If my schedule changes, such as suddenly I have a big meeting and need to wear a suit, then I just switch outfits. Same with the weather. Many a time I have picked out a skirt and then I don’t feel like wearing a skirt because it is cold so I will switch to pants. But that doesn’t happen to often. I am happy to have an outfit picked out in advance so I just don’t have to think about it in the morning. I just grab and go.

      • This!! Exactly. Thank you.

  20. I found Kendall Farr’s “Pocket Stylist” and (now that I’m older and let’s say, curvier) “Style Evolution” books to be a fantastic resource for someone like me who needs remedial style help. I also (don’t laugh) used that old chestnut “Color Me Beautiful” to figure out what colors flatter me, and it made a big difference.

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