There’s Life Outside of Power Suits

il_340x270.389610297_2ex1Some of you may have noticed I’ve been MIA lately … and some of you may not have noticed … to which I can only say, well I didn’t notice you were gone either, so … you know … THERE! But on a less elementary note, I’ve been busy transitioning into a shiny new job. Yes, it’s true, I have a life outside of one that Sucks In A Strapless Bra .

Throwing my comfort blanket off to begin a new journey at a new job officially meant that I no longer was surrounded by people who understood and accepted my personal style. When you spend 40 plus hours a week with people over the course of a couple of years, they start to turn into family … weird uncles you wish you could disown and all, so they are kind of forced to accept it. I could walk in on a Tuesday wearing 4 inch gold sparkly stilettos, because I was depressed and needed a pick-me-up … duh, and no one would even blink. Now if I wore those on my first day, I would forever be named “sparkles” or the “over-the top chick” or “the skank who is trying too hard.” I’m sure they would get more creative than I ever could.

Some may call it “4th grade problems,” and maybe I’m having ‘Nam flashbacks of the first day of school, but the “first day of work outfit” is critical. I define myself by what I wear. Make fun of my handshake, Judgey McJudgersons, but not my style.

Five years ago (OMG … IT HAS BEEN FIVE YEARS?! :::Bangs head against keyboard::: WHY, LORD, WHY!!!) … bloated from taking advantage of it being socially acceptable to still binge drink as a college student Monday-Friday, I started my first big girl job. Here is how hawt I looked: Oversized black slacks … oh yes, I said slacks (didn’t want the execs to know I had luscious lady lumps) that were too short, a white blouse of exaggerated frills that didn’t fit properly, and a black and white grandma-style cardigan, my hair slicked back, and flats. I vowed to myself that I would never buy a suit*, so I suppose this is how I compensated.

*To this day I still have not bought a suit … and I refuse. Suits are for squares … that is what I always say.

So besides not looking like a skank, or too conservative, or not fun, or not stylish … there are some key components to consider when planning what to wear on your first day of work. Whether you are a seasoned pro or trading in your flip cup and beer pong skills for more productive ones, here are some helpful tips:

1. Be yourself. Own it. It’s scary, especially if you are right out of school. You are going to feel this intense pressure to look mature, put together and anything but yourself. Shit, you are going to run out a buy a damn suit … and you aren’t going to like it. BUT STOP. Be you. Not you in da club, or corporate you, but your classiest self. Let your style shine, because at the end of the day that is what your employer will value most, that you are a real life human being.

2. Don’t dare wear anything that takes down your confidence. If you feel your dress is too tight or if you suspect that your ta’s are hanging out too much, put it away for a better day. You will be focused too much on that instead of meeting new faces and presenting your most fantastic¬†self.¬†New co-worker: “Hi my name is …” You: “OMG are my boobs out, do I feel a breeze on my nipple!?”

3. Wear something that makes you want to strut. When meeting new people, you don’t want to act above them, but you do need an air of confidence about you. When I need to feel like this I usually channel Mick Jagger. I’m not saying wear 5 inch stilettos and booty shorts Beyonce-style, but just something appropriate that makes you feel fab. If you feel fab in 4 inch heels, go for it. I personally usually wear flats on my first day so people don’t automatically assume I’m a freakish giant from outer space.

4. Give a shit. Do your hair, wear makeup, wax your eyebrows, iron your outfit, paint your nails, and use a lint brush, for crying out loud. Again, you keep telling yourself they won’t, but people will judge you. You want them to remember your shining personality and not that you have a burger stain on your blouse.

5. Establish a line between boring and fabulous. Minimalism is huge right now. My first day outfit was definitely a little safe, but very me. Black skinny jeans, black pointy flats, and a white sheer, flowy button down with black lace on the shoulders. I jazzed it up with some fantastic bracelets. Statement jewelry, when worn properly, will be the conversation starter you are praying for. It opens the door for someone to compliment you, and for you to compliment others … aka building relationships. People loving people, that’s what it is all about.

And there you have it. I definitely don’t have all of the answers … but I do know how important it is to let yourself shine. I spent many years portraying myself as something different than I actually was and thoroughly regret it, especially after I found an atmosphere that allowed my true self to shine, flaws and all. People like real people and someone they can relate to … remember that.

Oh yeah … and just say no to suits.