The Proper Professional feature was birthed out my desire to spread the blogging love while also gaining some insight into professional and business attire in various situations. My goal is to feature bloggers from all different professions, whether stay-at-home moms, mega-corporation executive assistants, work-from-home employees, small office staff, business owners or more, to view different perspectives and opinions on what is appropriate, acceptable, and professional. Hopefully you'll be inspired and introduced to some great new blogs, too! To catch up on previous interviews, click here.
Today we're learning more about what Kileen of Cute and Little thinks of professional attire!
Tell us a little about yourself and your blog.
I'm a little asian girl in my upper 20s trying to figure out how to dress myself for the professional workplace and beyond. Finding clothes and restyling my closet has always been a challenge, so my blog is my attempt to chronicle my daily journey!
How did you come up with your blog name?
My blog name basically is a description of a comment that I get all the time -- that I'm so cute and little. Standing at only 5' tall, I can vouch for the little part. Cute, well, that's up to you to decide I guess. :)
Do you work from home or outside the home, and what do you do?
I work outside the home as a software developer at a Dallas hedge fund. Fashion is nowhere in my career description (in fact, just the opposite!), but I it's always been a passion of mine.
Do you have a dress code by which you need to abide (either corporate or self-imposed)? If so, what is it and how do your co-workers (if applicable) approach the dress code?
My corporate dress code is labeled as "business casual with jeans allowed". As a software developer though, the dress code tends to lean more towards the casual side as we rarely need to interact directly with investors or external clients. My co-workers are all male (where are all the female engineers???) so their approach to the dress code ranges from button-down shirts and slacks to polo shirts and jeans. I truly appreciate the flexibility that my workplace offers with the dress code -- I would be so sad if I was stuck in grays and blacks everyday!
Do you choose your outfits in advance or in the morning, and how long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
I choose my outfits the night before as I am usually too rushed in the mornings to figure out anything interesting to wear. The entire process usually only takes 20 minutes, although there have been times where I've been really stumped with my closet and it's taken up to an hour.
If you were commissioned to rewrite the dress code, what would you change (if anything)?
I love my workplace dress code and wouldn't change a thing!
Do you think companies should take into account the potential cost for certain dress codes to be achieved and if so, should they be concerned about the cost being equal for both men and women?
I think companies inherently do take into account the cost of a certain dress code as it's usually reflected in their employee compensation or employee benefits. As far as cost for both men and women, I think it's hard to account for those differences. There are retailers for both men and women to find cheap clothing that is work appropriate as well as exorbitantly expensive. That is really just up to the individual's discretion, in my opinion.
What is your definition of professional attire and would this vary if the business is a small business compared to a larger corporation?
Professional attire is usually fairly modest -- definitely nothing too tight or short. Clothes should look tailored to fit and not draw attention inappropriately. Personally, I don't think there is any different whether the business in small or large. Professional is professional.
What are some pieces that every woman should have available in their professional arsenal?
Here are my picks: * a fitted blazer * skinny belts * pencil skirts * cardigans * black and brown pumps * button down shirt
What pieces are never professionally appropriate regardless of the situation?
My picks: * tank top * shorts * mini skirt * bell-bottom jeans * flip-flops
Describe an outfit you'd wear in each of the following settings:
1. A typical day at work.
A typical outfit for me at work usually involves cardigans and pencil skirts. A trick I use to make cardigans more fitted for my petite stature is to belt them around my waist. Instant definition!
2. A formal business meeting.
For a formal business meeting, I would choose an outfit where I could wear a nice fitted blazer. Blazers instantly pull a look together and have a way of commanding attention like nothing else.
3. An informal meeting with co-workers.
For an informal meeting, I would go a little more casual and wear something with a fun design or pattern. I've been loving lace this season, and recently found an amazing lace skirt that is still work appropriate!
4. A business dinner with co-workers and superiors.
For a business dinner, you can't go wrong with a little black dress. Stick with one that has a longer hem and is not sleeveless to pull off a more work-appropriate look.
Are there any questions you wish I'd asked or is there anything else you'd like to mention regarding this topic?
Nope. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity!
If you aren't familiar with Kileen, be sure to check out her blog, Cute and Little, for more professional attire inspiration!
If you'd like to be featured (or want to recommend someone else), please contact me at aworkingmomscloset at gmail.com.
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and if you're in the US, hope you're having a wonderful Memorial Day as well! See you tomorrow!