The Ambitionista

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Guest Post: Style in the Office and Elsewhere

I work as a freelance writer and content strategist. Most know me as the blogger behind the personal finance blog, L Bee and the Money Tree. Primarily working from home allows me a lot of freedom with my wardrobe, but I also run an company for my writing/strategy gigs. So I do dress professionally on occasion when meeting with clients.

photo (4)Lauren’s easygoing yet polished style.

Dressing professionally hasn’t always been first nature for me. During my first job after college, I was reprimanded for wearing jeggings to work on casual Friday. Even though you can wear jeans, you still have to look polished. It was embarrassing to have a “stern conversation” with my boss about my clothing, but it also communicated that I wasn’t very competent.

What I eventually learned is that less is more. I became a lot happier (and a lot better dressed) when I stopped focusing on quantity and more on quality and how each of my clothes pairs with the others.  Women want to consume a lot of “fast fashion” and have lots of different items to wear and mix and match, although it’s been proven that you only wear 20% of your closet regularly.

photo (3)Even though I was wearing only “black and white,” I felt very confident with this look (I usually gravitate toward brighter colors). I had just finished reading the book “Divergent” in which one of the factions exclusively wore black and white clothing, and thought it was ironic that was what I’d chosen for the day. The photo is serious, but I like to think it’s a little sassy too. Especially with my big “diva” glasses.

I consider style to be how you set yourself apart from the rest. There are lots of different clothing stores, but really only a few styles of clothing. How you wear it and your attitude are what differentiates you from everyone else.

Women have to pay a lot more money to keep up appearances than men do. Being easily objectified based on appearance can be a handicap in a financial sense.

I think women undervalue themselves in business and in life because we don’t want to be perceived a certain way, but once I started placing a greater value on my time, my self esteem increased and so did my business.
(Note from Heidi: I feel you Lauren. For the average woman, it can be an uphill climb trying to keep up with ‘trends’ . I say focus on creating style, and only buying pieces you know you can wear with your current clothes and for at least 3 seasons, if not more.)

Do you mix and match, or focus your wardrobe on quality items?


Lauren Bowling blogs at the personal finance site L Bee and the Money Tree. She is an expert on post-college finances and spends her free time renovating her home and enjoying good wine. Lauren is a freelance writer and content strategist who also runs an LLC by the name of Beehive Content. 

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12 Responses

  1. I also work at home so I am in control with the outfits or plain clothes that I wear. Except when I have to go on general assemblies and company meetings where my presence is needed, I tend to wear semi-formal ones like skirts and button-down shirts. I don’t usually do mix & match because I actually am not confident with my skills in color-coding. LOL

  2. Hi Lauren, I think you look great with your mix-and-match styled clothes. You should smile more often though on your pictures, you’re lovelier when smiling. :)

  3. Mixing and matching, or focusing your wardrobe on quality items?
    I do both! I love mixing and matching clothes, it gives me lots of ideas for my outfit, but I also want to make sure that I wear quality ones too.

  4. Gigi Benson

    You know what, I love everything you said on your last statement, Lauren. Very inspirational and motivational. It’s right to place a much better value at our own selves on our own time so that everything else will fall into place. THanks!

    “I think women undervalue themselves in business and in life because we don’t want to be perceived a certain way, but once I started placing a greater value on my time, my self esteem increased and so did my business.”

  5. Ruthie

    Mix and Match are definitely my style! I hate to see some of my clothes not getting worn just because they don’t have pairs, so I experiement, and so far, so good!

  6. Raiza

    I agree with you, it’s best to invest in quality instead of quantity. A dress or outfit with high quality will take you a long way..

  7. Beth

    I work at home, too, and sometimes, I don’t have time to get out due to lots of work. But when I do find time to relax or meet with my friends or with possible clients, I wear whatever I see fits me. I also make sure that I look presentable and professional.

  8. Carylle

    Are you sure about the 20%? Not in my case, fortunately, since I own only a few suits and dresses and as far as I know, I wear almost 90% of what is on my wardrobe. Maybe I’m the exception to the rule. LOL

  9. Now that I think of it, I probably only do wear 20% of my closet! It might be a better idea to spend a bit on just a few things that I really like instead of loads of clothes that I hardly ever wear.

  10. I used to hear the phrase, if you can’t beat them, join them.. In the corporate world, however, I say, it’s best to lead than to follow. I also follow this principle to clothing/fashion. When the time comes that you no longer want to go with the flow, or follow what’s “in” the market, try to start making the trend instead.

    After all, Gianni Versace said, “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.”

  11. Yep, I do mix and match with my office clothes, too! Sometimes it feels good to be quite adventurous with your office look (provided that the boss approves, of course) and do the mix-and-match style and still look polish and professional. Long before, I used to wear black and white too, but I add some colors from time to time, like wearing a scarf or a pair of eyeglasses to have an edgy look.

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