How To Dress Like A Savvy Business Professional

Work Essentials

One of the Twitter entries for my Style Rescue Me contest suggested that she needed style rescuing because she didn’t know “how to dress like a savvy professional”, and needed help making the transition from student to professional. Unfortunately she was not the winner of the contest, but I still felt compelled to give her some advice, as I’m sure she is not alone in this pursuit. 

Making the switch from teen to adult can be a difficult one, especially if you still look very young. I had this same issue while I was teaching high school a few years ago. With my dancer body, and long hair I could very easily be mistaken for one of my students, but I was determined to have the upper hand. I always dressed extremely professional, and maybe even a bit too much, but I really wanted to create a distance between my students and myself. I must have done something right because I constantly received compliments and feedback from my coworkers, supervisor, and even my students. I want to share some of my tips and tricks with you blog reader in case you suffer the same afflictions. Here are some basics for dressing the part!

Business / Work Essentials Check List: If you don’t have these items already in your closet you might want to consider starting to contribute to a working wardrobe.


If your blouse has buttons you might want to consider wearing a little cami underneath! Trust me on this one, when I was teaching teenage boys who frequently asked me for my phone number this was very important. These are not splurge items, save your money for other items because blouses are the most easily replaceable. Go low end on tops, and blouses, this is when you should scope out sales racks because you’ll tire of these items quicker than some of your other basics.


Having something light for layering over sleeveless tops, dresses, and/or blouses without looking bulky or frumpy is essential. Get yourself a few in fun bright hues and they’ll add that extra touch to your ensembles.

Great (fitting) trousers! (Splurge Item) If there is ANYTHING and I mean anything, you should spend your money on please let it be a good pair of dress pants. Fit the biggest part of your body first (usually your thighs and/or bottom) and the rest can be altered. I like to buy my dress pants with a slightly thicker waist band because I find they stay on my hips better which minimizes tugging and/or underwear exposure. Opt for neutral colors like black, navy, and gray so you can mix and match with any type of shirt and/or sweater.

Perfect Fit Pencil Skirt. Everyone needs a pencil skirt on hand whether you have a dinner after work, or a meeting in the morning a great pencil skirt can take you from morning to night. Again fit the widest part of you first (usually across the thighs), and you can take in the rest (probably at your teeny waist). You really don’t want to size down when buying a pencil skirt because you’ll risk tugging and pulling across your midsection which will make it difficult to tuck in shirts. Sizing down will also make you look bigger than you actually are: not ideal.

Blazer in the color that matches both your skirt and your trousers (so you can mix and match). Having a great blazer on hand is essential, you can literally pair it with anything, your trousers, your skirt, your jeans, and even a printed dress. It’s the perfect way to take your outfit from causal to professional.

Black Opaque (and Sheer) Pantyhose! Panty hose are crucial for the work place, and some outfits call for opague and some call for sheer. If you’re going all black on top, opt for sheer tights on bottom, so you don’t look too serious. Opague are great for hemlines that are just above the knee to help make sure that you are tasteful and tactful for the office. I usually ditch the tights during summer months, but use your own discretion and always consider your work place.

Black Basic Pumps and Black Flats (Splurge Item). A basic pair of black pumps can be worn with anything, and are perfectly appropriate (maybe even essential) for meetings. While the flats provide your feet with a break; flat are perfect for when you are just sitting at your desk or when you don’t have meetings. Having the option to slip into some flats during down time is crucial, but having the pumps on site for last minute or urgent meetings is also a win! Make sure you get a pair that fits well and are also made well so they will stand up against everyday use.

Slightly flared and/or boot cut jeans (slightly loose fitting). You will need something for causal Friday and I suggest you opt for a boot cut or slightly flared denim that you can wear with either a boot or a pump. I try to steer clear of skinny jeans at the office, as I feel that they are just too close to causal wear for me. Also no offence to anyone in particular, but ladies some of you are wearing your jeans WAY TOO TIGHT. A slightly flared denim almost resembles a trouser, and so I feel they are more appropriate for the office and/or work place. 

If you have any more style questions for me that you would like to see answered like this please tweet me @shortpresents or email me at I’d be happy to address any style questions and/or dilemmas! 

Happy Saturday Blog Readers! 
Short Presents


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