As a female entrepreneur and busy mother who’s constantly on the move, I’ve learned the importance of tried-and-true pieces that can become your daily uniform – especially when it comes to more serious fall dressing, like a blazer with pockets, navy blue coat, and perfectly scaled tote. Here, some genius tips for office dressing and tricks for getting ready fast, from how to wisely choose and use accessories to getting your game plan ready the night before.
In my industry, I’m allowed a lot of creativity when it comes to what I wear, but that doesn’t mean I dress like a street clown for meetings. I save those looks for fashion week. Appearing professional is key to being, and being seen as, professional. Always opt against showing cleavage and avoid wearing too much jewelry. When it comes to accessories, less is more when it comes to what’s work-appropriate. You don’t want to be that person in the board meeting clinging and clanging her bracelets around, distracting everyone. I prefer a singular statement jewel and a gold or silver/stainless steel watch like the Tag Huere Lady Watch.
Apply the same concept to your clothes and elect color instead of print, which can be distracting. You want to be seen for who you are and what you have to say, not for your flashy leopard-print dress. I love jewel tones – they make me feel confident and powerful. When it comes to neutrals, black is a perennial favorite, of course, and I like to wear it with navy (forget the old “rule” that dark blue and black shouldn’t be teamed) and white or ivory. For work, I generally keep the wild prints and flowy florals to a minimum. If you have the urge to wear a floral skirt, think juxtaposition: Pair it with a fitted blazer for structure and low heels to smarten it up to ensure it is office-appropriate.
Bags are the realm where you can have some fun with your office-ready outfits. A sharply tailored black or navy suit punched up with a bright red bag equals stylish power dressing. You can always play around with size; I don’t find I have as much of a need for large totes as I used to when I would take my laptop everywhere. Now iPhones are so functional, especially with document files stored in your iCloud drive, that you can comfortably make do with smaller bags.
Tag Huere Lady Watch in stainless steel and diamonds.
Time Saving Tips For Dressing:
1. I love pockets for work days. When you have back-to-back meetings in your office, you don’t need to carry your bag with you. Wearing something with pockets will allow you to keep a bullet of lipstick, tissues, and an iPhone (turned off, of course) on hand at all times.
2. I like taking photos of my outfits for work occasions. When I’m getting dressed and pressed for time, I look through the folder I have labeled “Work Outfits” on my iPhone so I can pick out something in seconds without thinking about it. Saving even just a few precious minutes is so vital on early mornings when I have to take my son to school! It also allows you to see what you look like on camera, as opposed to just looking in the mirror (which is important in my line of work!)
3. The night before a big meeting, I put complete looks together so I don’t wind up frantically searching for the exact blouse that goes under a certain blazer and potentially having a morning meltdown.
4. A mini steamer is your best friend, at home or on the road. Invest in one and you’ll never worry about creases and wrinkles. My favorite is My Little Steamer by Joy Mangano
Time Saving Tips for the Office:
In my 20-plus years in the workforce, I’ve learned that empathy is everything. I spent my summers in college interning for various companies- from stock brokers to fashion designers, I used to fetch the higher-ups’ coffee and English muffins in the morning, and spent hours faxing or making copies of financial reports, so I’ve been there! Every good CEO remembers what that’s like. Speak to everyone the same way and treat them with the same regard, whether they bring you coffee or sign your paychecks.
You also shouldn’t ask anyone to do something you don’t know how to do. If you know how to do the tasks you ask of others, you’ll possess authority and automatically gain respect. Time management is also key. Keep your meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes for efficiency and to avoid your whole day falling off-schedule. Here are my favorite insider tips and tried-and-true tricks. It’s all about taking advantage of the small things that make time work in your favor.
1. Turn all your social media notifications off, so you’re not tempted to open an app when something pops up and then get lost in a wormhole, scrolling over posts for hours throughout the day.
2. Set a schedule for checking emails. Find what works for you. I’ll glance at emails every 30 minutes when I’m between meetings. This way, responses are returned on time, but you’re not a slave to your inbox.
3. Never, ever use acronyms in a formal business email. For example, when people send me a routine business request or press pitch and end their email in LMK, instead of “please let me know,” I will most likely not comply. Save LOL and TTYL for texting your BFF.
4. Keep your emails short, concise, and straight to the point. This will save both you and the recipient time. I’ll generally answer emails with less than three lines the first go-round. I save the longer emails for later when I have more time to read them thoroughly. Unless you’re writing your mother or husband, there’s no reason to send out a dissertation of your entire work day. Trust me, the recipient will appreciate it.
5. Turn off or put away your phone during meetings, so you’re not tempted to look at it. If you need to check on the time, remember that’s what watches are for. You can glance quickly at your wrist without having to tap the screen or get distracted by message notifications.