Dressing for work can be a tricky ordeal, especially when it comes to your choice of shoes and a purse. Whether your company prefers employees to wear traditional or business casual attire, the shoes and purse you don will send subtle messages that either complement or detract from your overall look. After you decipher your company’s dress code (traditional, classic business casual or relaxed business casual), you’ll need to select shoes and a purse that will make you look like the professional that you are. Here are some ways to always look your best when it comes to the shoes and purse you wear to work:
The right pair of shoes can make you look like a million dollars, while the wrong ones can send your look right down the toilet. Shoes send an at-a-glance message about where you stand on your workplace’s totem pole, so be sure that your shoes say you’re competent and confident. When you’re selecting a pair of shoes to wear to work, be sure to ask yourself if they’re too heavy-looking or if the color is too light or dark.
For the traditional look: Wear versatile, no-nonsense pumps and pair them with skirts, trousers and dresses. If you wear hosiery, choose lightweight, silky opaque or semi-opaque hosiery with skirts and dresses and match the hosiery to your shoes’ or pants’ color.
For the classic business casual look: Loafers are a good choice with, trousers and pantsuits, but be sure to avoid the prep-school kind, scuffs and pennies (though a small metal bar is OK). If you wear hosiery, wear medium-weight opaque trouser socks that match the color of your shoes or pants.
If your workplace’s dress style is a more relaxed business casual: Wear sneakers or sandals as long as they conform to your company’s dress code.
The bag you wear carries strong connotations about you, so make sure your purse is suited to a business setting. A black leather purse is authoritative and versatile. When you’re selecting a bag to wear to work, make sure the shoulder straps aren’t too long — the bag should not hang below your waist. Also, keep your bag neatly zipped, which will send the subtle message that you’re organized and in control.
It’s easy to overfill your purse with stuff you don’t need, so consider limiting the contents to the following:
- 2 pens
- breath mints
- mini-shoe buffer (because scuffs say “sloppy”)
- hand wipes
- nail file