Outfits

Fashion vs. Business Formal

Dress: J. Crew; Blazer + shoes: Madewell; Bag: Zara

There comes a time in every young professional’s career when, through no fault of their own, they encounter the dreaded “business formal” dress code.  I say dreaded because the term typically conjures up images of vast swaths of business professionals gathered together, the palpable tension of forced networking interactions between strangers thick in the air, wearing ill-fitting polyester pantsuits in various shades of black, grey, and at times the even more gag-inducing pinstripe.  Unsurprisingly, the mere mention of this particular dress code is enough to give any fashion-conscious professional ulcers.

However, when I had the opportunity recently to attend the George Washington Women in Business Conference at GWU (Which was awesome, by the way, thank you GWWIB for putting on such a great conference, and thank you Stacey from Strategy in Stilettos for inviting me.), which called for business formal attire, I decided to challenge this stereotype (for my own health and sanity, see above comment on ulcers). The basic skeleton of a business outfit is there, thanks to the pumps and the blazer, but this version, business formal 2.0 if you will, takes it home by clashing combining polka dot pumps with a bright floral dress.

Unfortunately I was unable to get off work that day and so I couldn’t attend the entire conference, but rest assured that I did make it back during my break to get a signed copy of By Invitation Only, which may or may not have included a literal sprint through Georgetown to make it there and back in half an hour, and also may or may not have included an accidental head-on collision with a small child at one point.  I’m not saying it did, but it might have.

So, readers, what do you do when you encounter a business formal dress code?  Do you stick to the tried and true suit, or switch it up?

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3 thoughts on “Fashion vs. Business Formal

  1. kristawest says:

    love this!
    Plus side to my internship: ad agencies are very colorful, I can wear cute outfits all I want.
    I did wear black pants the other day but they are so comfy and skinny style so its okay.
    Cant wait for you to dress me everyday hahaha

  2. Agreed, dress code definitely isn’t a one-size-fits-all-industries. One time, for a University trip we were going to meet with buyers at Bloomingdale’s, and the trip leaders were trying to tell us to wear a suit with pantyhose…we would have looked completely out of place, not to mention that every single pair of panty hose ever made should be burned, immediately.
    And also, I can’t wait either hahaha. I just made those painted mason jars that Free People posted as a diy the other day on pinterest. They’re so easy to make and look so pretty!

  3. Thanks for the shout out 🙂 and I’m glad you enjoyed the conference, sad I couldn’t make it, and sorry for creepily stalking your blog… hope you’re having a great summer!

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