Business fashion entails an abundance of rules, which can quickly make us forget about all the other things we normally take for granted. Perhaps we’re just too busy to think of everything at once, and bang! a fashion mistake is made. On the other hand, I should mention that business fashion is quite different where I’m from than the one I see abroad‒and this is even more pronounced when it comes to men’s fashion choices. As it happens, other parts of the world seem to have figured out a long time ago that a business woman can also look attractive and not necessarily be a bitter lady with her hair pulled back in a bun wearing a black mid-calf length dress; it doesn’t mean her brain is made of cotton candy, just because she is wearing a pink blazer; it just means she is fashion-forward, and usually she can pull off the look easily. Also, a two-piece suit in the sense of a matching pair of pants and a blazer has been passe for a while now. A business woman is in tune with her fashion sense and understands what is appropriate, ‒she knows a suit makes her seem older, so she stays away from it. There are some exceptions, but sometimes it’s best not to take that chance.
Looking back at the environment I work in, I have to say that men in beach sliders or even worse, Crocs, are unfortunately a common sight. The problem is that looking beach-ready means no one is going to take you seriously and you yourself will lack self-confidence. Women, who otherwise have a stronger fashion sense, can also be too sporty, for instance, wearing promotional T-shirts or dresses that have long since lost their shape. I’m all for sporty casual, but with style, because there are endless possibilities.
Lacking personal hygiene
Deodorants have been invented many years ago; they’re the little bottles one usually finds in bathrooms that are meant to be used below the armpits. They create this awesome effect that can last at least half a day, after which it’s time to take another shower anyways. Using perfume on dirty skin is like mixing meat with jam: it just doesn’t work (even though Austrians claim otherwise, but that is another story for another time). Similar can be said for dirt underneath the nails and food stuck between the teeth: simply unacceptable, in 2017.
Drenched in perfume
Okay, you can be forgiven, if it’s a pleasant one, but some perfumes are so overpowering they cause headaches, which makes us remember certain people as your personal travelling migraine-companion. Not exactly pleasant, right? Don’t overdo it, even though I think it’s perfectly right to have your own favourite scent, which creates a sort of personal touch. But that doesn’t mean you have to bathe in it, like Cleopatra supposedly did; we can’t be sure, besides, she had a habit of beheading people around her, so even if she did come on strongly with the perfume, they were smart and didn’t mention it.
I don’t know if this ever happened to you, so imagine going to the DMV or a similar place of business and the lady behind the computer reminds you of Puff Daddy, in his good years, so full of gold you can’t be sure, if she’s trying to sell it, or actually believes it looks good. And then there are the oh, so fashionable charms-bracelets with tiny mushrooms, angels, flowers, hearts and every possible religious symbol hanging from it, and if the earrings happen to match this hot mess, the only thing left to say is: Bingo! Too much of everything simply isn’t elegant.
You know this, if you work with customers or spend a lot of time sitting down, people often literally look down on you, which gives them a marvellous view of your cleavage. Even if you’re extremely proud of it, try not to show it off too much. Same goes for exposing your legs in a tiny mini-skirt. Personally, I like a sexy style a lot, but you can just as easily achieve it with a pair of high heels, a blouse and a midi-skirt. It’s a sexy and sophisticated combination that won’t even turn other women at your workplace into biting rattlesnakes … You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
I was starting to think that Jon Bon Jovi was the last living example of a teased mane, although, as you know, I’m his die-hard fan and I could swear that he looked gorgeous even way back in the 90’s (this is clearly a lie, but I will never admit it). I am proven wrong, because I still keep seeing a lot of fake-hair extensions and teased hair-dos, even though we now live in a time when everything is supposed to be all-natural. If you have a problem with thin hair, try getting a layered cut, which will provide the desired volume. But please, don’t think you’re fooling anybody by teasing your hair until it hits the ceiling, because you’re not. It’s still clear you don’t have that much hair.
Most entertaining side effect: seeing them type from above on the computer, because they can’t possibly reach the keys any other way than with the nails, which are, of course, artificial. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see an even more bizarre scene: a woman with a missing nail, because it fell off (due to its length). Nice, shorter and well groomed nails are your ticket, so make sure to take care of your hands, and ignore nail art. Glitter, flowers, and pierced nails should be limited to young girls, and that’s a fact.
There are many possibilities: wrong foundation shade, lipstick applied over the edge of the lips, blue eye shadow (like Cybill Shepherd rocked in the 70’s, but makeup trends have changed somewhat since then), or too much blush. Keep your makeup nice and simple; that doesn’t mean you should keep it down to a minimum, but you do have to learn how to combine products and how to accentuate your best features. Makeup is there to make us look better, but it shouldn’t be a mask‒especially at work.
Still looking for your signature style
I like browsing the web or Instagram, but even I have to admit there are too many different styles. You have to find your own and is has to be age-appropriate as well as suit your life-style. When in doubt, turn to classics and famous style icons, Audrey, Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman (if we include a younger generation of icons), or Miranda Kerr. They’re all women with style who know how to wear anything stylishely. Also, don’t forget to look at the mirror, it should be your best friend.
How old are you?
I have to say it’s a mistake I don’t see as often, but there are some examples that stand out; you know, a super short skirt, tanned skin, which is riddled with wrinkles, nails you could carve statues with, accompanied by ice-blonde hair: all featured on a woman at 60. That is just no way to do it. And I’m not saying older women are bad-looking, not at all. But every age has its own set of rules, and even though we stay young for a long, long time, nowadays, we still have to realise a fight against age is a battle lost in advance‒it starts showing sooner or later. So choose ageing gracefully rather than disstastefully.