In this day and age no woman carries just one title. The 2017 woman is a working girl 24/7. She has a 9-5, she’s a mom, she’s a student, she owns her own business, she supports others and is involved in her community. She travels to places she’s never been, moves her family across the country, the state, or the world. She has a wide range of experience, a diverse pool of friends and an ever-growing knowledge base because more opportunities than ever are available to her.
Bag, Louis Vuitton Neverfull: Tradesy (2016), Shoes, Valentino Rockstuds: Friends & Family score (2016)
Think about all the women you know. How many of them fit this description? Pretty much all of them, right?! I can’t think of a single moment where I don’t feel like I’m working. But I think that’s a good thing. The moment we aren’t working towards something is when we stop growing and learning. I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’ll ever be close to knowing everything there is to know.
You might find this a discouraging thought! But to me it’s exciting to realize no matter how far I reach out, I’ll always touch something I’ve never experience before, which means there’s literally no way I can ever get bored with life! The only thing I have to do is stretch a little further each time. And I think we can all benefit from a little stretching. After all, it’s the first thing we do each morning, and doesn’t that feel good?
For me (and probably most people) dressing well while working contributes greatly to my productivity level! If I don’t look like I know what I’m doing, I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing! Crazy how what we drape our bodies in can have such an emotional effect on our physical abilities, right? You wouldn’t try to run a marathon in heels, would you? Conversely, you wouldn’t pitch an idea to your boss wearing pajamas, right? The old adage, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” can be so misleading. It’s good advice, but how can you dress for the better job when you’re still on the old job’s salary? You’d be speechless to know how much of what I own was second hand or came from an Estate sale and the thrift store! I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve found out people think I spend insane amounts of money on my wardrobe. If they’d just ask I’d tell them how my favorite Chanel dress is 25 years old and was discovered at the bottom of a Goodwill bin for $11! You’d be amazing at what a good cleaning and a little tailoring can do for a garment! And this brings me to my next point; FIT. Fit is EVERYTHING. If a garment doesn’t fit you well it automatically looks cheaper. I have many pieces of clothing from Target and TJMaxx that I got for a steal, then immediately took to the tailor (or tailored myself) to fit better. I have this one dress from Target someone told me they thought HAD to have cost me at least a few hundred $$$’s based on how good it looks on me. Nope, I told her! I added some sew on crystal appliques to the collar and had the bodice fitted better! The most hilarious part about it was that the dress was a size 12 (I’m a 6-8) and was on the cast-off sales rack because a button was missing! I think I spent $8 on it and another $20 fixing it up! Now for my last point on dressing for your dream job: There IS such a thing as too much. Another quote I like (that’s also a bit confusing to put into action without some explanation!) is this: “Before you leave the house always look in the mirror and take one thing off.” – Cocoa Chanel. You can easily take an elegant outfit from classy to tragic with too much ‘clunk.’ Did you know that you do not HAVE to match all your accessories? WHAT?! That’s right, matchy-matchy outfits also toe the line of ‘cheap’! Think about it; Do you have a bold pair of bright blue heels that look killer with that white cocktail dress? Instead of matching it with a blue bag, earrings and a big sparkly necklace, match it with a white or tan bag and dainty jewelry. Let ONE statement piece take center stage. Do not wear more than one statement piece at a time. And tone everything else down about 50% more than you typically would. Ask yourself if Kate Middleton would approve, and then ask yourself if your favorite fashion icon would approve. Choose a middle ground that still true to your own style while taking queues from women who have defined the look you want!
Jacket, Chanel: Thrifted! (2017) Dress, Chanel: Thrifted! (2017) Necklace: J.Crew Factory (2013), Blouse: ZARA (2012) = Total less than $150!
Now a note on luxury items: If you really badly want an $1100 pair of shoes or a $1200 bag it’s not completely impossible to have one in a matter of months. Something I did was skip Starbucks and ordering out lunch for a few months and put that $ aside, couple that with saving a few quarterly bonuses I earned at work, and searching Tradesy, TheRealReal and TJMaxx Runway, I was able to easily score a few luxury pieces without pulling out a credit card or dipping into savings! I’ve built my luxury collection (and now have about 12 VERY NICE pieces) over the last 7 years and have NEVER paid retail. If you do happen to find a pair of Valentino Rockstuds or a Louis Vuitton Neverfull for $200 you can probably go ahead and assume it’s NOT real though! If a luxury item like that is “marked down” on eBay, or the like, it’s probably a fake. Trust me, you will not regret waiting and saving for the REAL THING, because you can absolutely tell the difference in quality! I’ve honestly never spent big money on clothes because I’d rather spend it on my feet! I know that may sound odd, but think about it; you’re on your feet all day, every day typically… You wouldn’t run a marathon in cheap, knock off Nike’s because the logo isn’t what makes a pair of shoes great… it’s all about the craftsmanship. So think about the things you spend the most amount of time in, and invest in that. Don’t feel guilty about paying $ for something that’s going to improve your quality of life at work.
For example: You can turn a $20 Forever21 dress into the chicest outfit in the room with a classic pair of shoes (Nine West from 6pm.com for $50), an investment belt, and a statement jacket that shows off your personal style, like I did below! Having just one really nice belt in your wardrobe like that can take the simplest LBD or white tee and jeans into the It-girl-street-style stratosphere! Dress also seen on me HERE & HERE.
As far as ‘treating myself’ goes I like to invest in manicures, eyelash extensions and quality hair cuts. I’ll talk more about my beauty routine another time if that’s something y’all are interested in hearing about, but just know I’m not blowing thousands every year on treatments, products and makeup! You can absolutely look fabulous, classic, chic and elegant with a little smart maneuvering and making investments in a few small things that make a difference. Tell me, would you rather have 20 pairs of $30 shoes or 2 GREAT pairs for $300 each that people compliment you on all the time and automatically gets you that look of respect from women you pass on the street? Something to think about!
NO matter your job is know that you deserve to be proud of who you are, what you’ve accomplished and all that you can bring to the table. So here’s to you: The mom up at 3am answering e-mails and breast feeding her new born, the Waitress 10 hours into a double shift on a Friday night, the ER Dr. with someone’s life in their hands every moment they’re at work, the fresh-out-of-Uni grad walking into her dream job interview, the Soldier on her 3rd deployment, missing her 1st Anniversary with her new husband… Here’s to you: #RiseAndStretch