Big Personality, Little Cash: Tips for Dressing the Unique Young Professional Woman

Hello, readers! It’s Bethany here on the blog-o-sphere today. Let’s play a quick game:

True or False?

Life after college is an enigma. True

Being in your mid twenties is tough. True

Landing a decent job is tough. True

Dressing yourself as a young professional WHILE maintaining your personal style once you have said decent job is also tough. True.

True, you say? Well what do ya know, it’s like I forced the answers to lead into my blog post or something. Heh, guilty. Allow me to connect the dots:

As a 20 something individual, I understand stumbling around in the abyss looking for a decent job. Jobs are not easy to find these days. So when you snag a good one,  use your style to celebrate yourself and  your professional achievements! When I first started working a professional job (or big girl job as it is so often referred), I had no clue what to wear. All I knew was this: I couldn’t wear my skinny jeans, vans, or my hats. I have always loved fashion, but I didn’t have much experience in how to create a business casual style that reflected my own personal style. Don’t get me wrong I had a few pieces for college presentations and interviews, but none of my pieces reflected the style I enjoy. Anybody else having flashbacks of over-sized flared black slacks and a plain blouse? There’s nothing wrong with this style; however, this is what I assumed to be my dead end fashion destiny. I wanted the yellow brick road, not the dead end.

A year into my first job I started slowly building a better professional wardrobe. Fast forward to now (two years later) and I have a better understanding of how to balance  professional life and  personal style. Why does this matter? It matters because I don’t want Monday through Friday Bethany to be a completely different person than Weekend Bethany. You feel me?

How do we achieve a balance?

Take the typical business casual rules (give or take a few minor changes depending on the institution):

  • Skirts/dresses must meet the knee
  • No tank tops (some companies may have an allowance for wide straps)
  • No sheer tops without something decent underneath
  • No shorts (some places may allow business knee length shorts)
  • No flip flops (at least everywhere I have worked)
  • Nothing low cut
  • No t-shirts/graphic tees (some places a plain fitted tee is acceptable)
  • No jeans (except for the beloved casual Fridays)

Anybody else feel like this leaves one option?

Those blasted baggy flared slacks and a plain blouse.

FALSE 

This is my perspective on how you take the dress code and blend it with your personal style, all while sticking with a small budget! The key is to get nice neutral basics, and to pair them with your style of clothing! Let’s take a look at the basics, and how to use them in multiple ways.

If you only remember two things about this post, REMEMBER THIS:

  • Get neutral, well fitted, modern, multi functional basic pieces.
  • Having these basic pieces will allow for fun additions. These fun additions should be used to bring your style into the mix.
  1. Black Blouse:

Getting a comfortable black blouse is imperative. I would suggest long sleeved, stream lined, and long enough to tuck in.  Having this classic piece  allows you to pair it with more fun/trendy bottom pieces. This would also pair well with a chunky necklace; however, my necklace collection is minuscule. A girl can imagine right? Below you will also find brands and estimated pricing. Check out how I paired my black blouse for some ideas:

BlogTrio1

Black Blouse– Forever21 $12.90

From left to right:

  • Skinny ankle slacks– JCPenny’s (Worthington Brand) $24.00
  • Patterned pants–Forever21 $19.90
  •  Burgundy ankle slacks–JCPenny’s (Worthington Brand) $4.00…yeah that was some kind of genius Sale I hit. Genius I say.

2. Knee lenth black dress:

I would have preferred this dress just a few inches longer, but I believe over time it shrank in the wash (whoopsie). **Helpful tip: Wash on cold, tumble dry. I love spicing this one up with colored tights in the fall/winter. Here I have paired it with a few blazers, but it can also stand alone! This length of dress or skirt pairs best with a very small heel. On the right I paired it with a modest nude wedge. It is rare to spot me in a heel, but this is just my personal style. What can I say, flats win over everything else! I’m a touch biased.  Always say yes to a little (or in this case knee length) black dress. Below you will find brands and estimated pricing:

BlogTrio3

Black dress–Old Navy $29.00

From left to right:

  • Cropped striped blazer– Forever21 garage sale (original price unknown)
  • Light beige blazer– Forever21 $32.00

3. Plain Button Down

I chose to show my light blue button down, although there are many neutral colors you can choose from! For example,  I have white, light blue, jean, and white with black polka dots. I can use this piece in countless ways. This is one piece you will want to make sure is tailored to your body. An ill fitting button down can cause problems. I would love to invest in a little bit better one, but this shows you an idea.  One shirt, so many options. Below you will find brands and estimated pricing:

BlogTrio2

Blue button down– JCPenny’s $14.00

From left to right:

  • Black ankle slacks– JCPenny’s (Worthington Brand) $24.00
  • Blue patterned sweater–Forever21 Garage sale swag (original price unknown)
  • Black pencil skirt: JCPenny’s $20.00

4. Neutral Season Blazer (Modern fit)

This is my most recent (and favorite) basic piece. A neutral blazer can be worn with almost anything. This modern design would make it easy for me to transition my business outfits to a night out with my friends, simply by switching the slacks for a dark wash skinny jean. I chose this color specifically because it can be used across all the seasons. This light beige looks great with black and burgandy–making it a great addition for fall and winter. You can also pair it with light pieces to flow with spring and summer. Below you will find brands and estimated pricing:

BlogTrio4

Neutral blazer (modern fit)–Forever21 $32.00

From left to right:

  • Black knee length dress–Old Navy $29.00
  • White dress– Charlotte Russe $29.00
  • Black ankle slacks– JCPenny’s (Worthington Brand) $24.00

5. Basics allow for FUN details:

You have seen me pair the above basics in many different ways. While these are great basics, I would also suggest these basics:

Additional Basics:

  • Modern black ankle slacks
  • White blouse
  • Pencil skirt
  • Black blazer
  • White button down
  • Black flats
  • Cream/neutral flats

Now that you understand how to pair your basics with modern style, let’s learn how to spice them up a little! I suggest these basic pieces so that your FUN pieces aren’t too overwhelming in the work place.  I suggest the following to light up your basics:

Fun Additions:

  • Colored slacks (seen above paired with black blouse)
  • Watch that matches your personality (seen below)
  • Trendy high-waisted slacks (seen below)
  • Fun hair (seen below)
  • Fun patterns (seen below)
  • Vintage pieces (seen below)
  • Colored/metallic shoes
  • Bold necklace
  • Fun belt
  • Colored tights in fall
  • Colored/patterned scarf in fall
  • Bold hand bag/briefcase
  • Fun nail polish

Let’s check it out for a few fun additions ranging from jewel details to high-waisted slacks to vintage pieces:

Blog013 Blog019Blog017Blog015Blog022

While I don’t have all the answers or a heaping pile of money to spend on clothes, I do have this: A better understanding of my own style, and how to incorporate it into the workplace. I would love for you to try the same! Get your modern basic pieces, then find fun ways to incorporate your style! This allows you to have more confidence in yourself while you’re working! Always keep your company’s dress code in mind, and have fun with what you can wear.

Keep in touch with me on Instagram at Bethno13. While you’re there, check out a really easy way to keep up with our recent blog posts: #OakAndEarthBlog. We would love to hear from you. I also want to give my husband Denver a shout out for taking these pictures of me while I posed awkwardly next to our garage while the Landlord mowed our lawn. Instead of ending on awkwardness, I’ll close with this lovely quote:

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”- Coco Chanel

Unitl next time,

-Bethany <3

Blog021

5 Reasons Why Pixie Hair is the Best (a lifestyle update)

Hey, reader! It’s me, Tera. This week I want to share a little lifestyle change I’ve made to my daily beauty routine and look. So, as many of you already know, I recently took the plunge (for the second time ever) and decided to chop several inches of my locks off for a style we know as “the pixie.” Whether this seems like a super dramatic change, or just merely a new “do,” I am here to tell you that over the course of about three weeks with my pixie hair, I have had a small revelation, and it is that they are the best. I’ll show you some up-close photos of my hair real quick before I proceed.

flowerpose profilehair

Adorbs. There are a few reasons why I claim this style to be (literally) the best, and I feel like it’s my duty to tell you why you are missing out if you don’t have a pixie. So, without further ado, here is why I fell in love with my pixie!

  1. No Muss, No Fuss

This reason is simple and sweet. Pixies are virtually weatherproof. You know what I mean, ladies. No wasted time styling your hair only to walk outside to the humidity taking over (I call this the static ball affect). No more gimpy carni rides that leave your hair beyond repair at the county fair (this literally happened). With my new hair, I can put on my lipgloss and step outside on the windiest day, and not a single strand of hair slings and sticks back onto my lips–this is a pet peeve of mine! Second consecutive year to attend the county fair, first year to leave with minimal- to -no -damage repairs needed on my hair. You just can’t have a bad hair day with this style…you just have another “pixie” day. Pixies are indestructible..I’ve yet to disprove this fact.

curtsypose

2. Easy as Pie

These next two reasons of mine are somewhat redundant, but I’m listing them separately because one is specifically kid-related. This reason is all in the title: EASY. I would always have a hard time with my hair. I guess it is just not my forte when it comes to beauty routine. Don’t get me wrong; I love hair, but it’s a lot of work to get it to look like the style in my head that I am trying to portray. Pixies are simple. There are no decisions to be made when deciding on how to wear it (ie. up, down, curly, straight, beachy waves, amazing princess braids, braids that turn into a bow, etc…you get it). You just wear it the “pixie” way, and it’s adorable. You can still play with it and change it up, but for the most part, it’s one style and it takes minimal product to get it that way. (By the way, if you are needing a good reference for pixie products, this is what I use that works great). Having short hair, probably 20-30 minutes of my day (let’s be honest, when and only when I plan to leave the house and need to be presentable) is spared from the torments of thin, frizzy, “bad” hair days and failed attempts at “curling it” with my curling wand. My pixie is easy as pie.

frameface handonhip

See? So much extra time on my hands.

3. Kid Friendly

I’ll transition into my next reason for loving my pixie. This one is for my fellow mama friends out there, because this is essential for what our lives center around! This hairstyle is baby proof (99.9% of the time). No more boogers, spit up, or sopping wet hair slapping you in the face, and no more hair tug of war!

If you fix your pixie hair in the morning, you have that 99.9% chance that you can do a quick glance in the mirror and head to lunch with that friend, or head to your afternoon of errand running. Pixie cuts are so amazing and forgiving for our crazy “mom-life, on the go life!” I’m not just talking to stay at home moms here. Working moms are so busy and on the go just as much, and this hair is for you, too! Talk about a time saver when you are getting yourself, and kiddos ready to be out the door by 7:30!! I am a big advocate for things that are kid-friendly, and easy. Sign me up! Well…I’ve already jumped on the bandwagon. But I’m here to tell you fellow moms, the water’s fine!

Didn’t get a chance to wash your 2 day old hair because of the long list of stuff to do, and those ever sweet, ever needy kiddos? The Pixie hears you, and pixie accepts.The beauty with this hairstyle is that you can stick some pomade in it, “mess it up,” and it camouflages that dirty hair and gives you some grace so you can get through another long, busy day. Pixie says, “it can wait until tonight.”

momandbabygoofy prettybaby momandbabywalk momandbabypose

4. Stylin’, Profilin’

I’ll openly admit that I am not the most fashionable human being, and like I said earlier, hair has never been my thing. I’ve loved having a haircut that’s been so stylish, and it just doesn’t take too much skill and effort. I literally woke up like this.

hatpic j/k.

Really though, pixies are edgy haircuts that give you automatic style points on your daily routine. It’s a natural accessory that people love. But, my hair also doesn’t take away from my face, so I can focus on beautifying where I have more fun. One of these days, I’m going to nail that blasted cat eye. When hair is not your strong suit, pixie is here to basically fix itself so you can spend your primping time doing whatever is fun for you!

Pixie cuts are stylish, they’re feminine, they’re fresh, and they’re super adorbs. (Reason 4, check).

5. FUN

My last reason for falling in love with my pixie, is because it has been super fun! I feel like when people think of “pixie hair,” a lot of times, it comes across much more mundane than what it is. Pixies are FUN, and there are so many ways to wear one!Long pixies, short pixies, sleek pixies, punky pixies, etcetera (you get the picture). There are lots of ways to play with your pixie cut and make it unique to your style and taste!

I’m convinced that pixie cuts make you more fun. That might be a stretch (it’s definitely not), but nevertheless, it’s a style you can have fun with. You can throw on a cute hat for a fun day date around the town, or wear it a little sleeker for a fancy dinner. You can still be fun and creative with your pixie, despite the lack of several extra inches of locks.

SO, there it is! I realize that pixie hair is not for everyone, just like the pretty mermaid hair is not for me. But for anyone who’s contemplated this look, I wanted to be of some encouragement to you! There is much to love about a cute pixie cut. I feel feminine, I feel pretty, my man thinks it’s HAWT, and I feel stylish! Your hair can be a fun accessory without the major hair probs and maintenance, and that is why I’ve loved it!

What is something about your style that YOU love?! We love your feedback, and we love sharing life with you! Hashtag your experiences you’d like to share with us #OakandEarthBlog and #OakandEarth, and keep up with our blog and updates on my instagram handle @terapianalto.

Tera4

Much Love,

Tera