Today our guest writer is Lisa Taylor Richey. lIS
Have you ever had to dress for a meeting with someone who is casual when you usually dress more formal? Last week I had a meeting at a country club with a tennis coach. Standing in my closet pondering over what to wear when you are over 40 and need to look professional yet not over dressed I felt overwhelmed.The problem:
- Needed to look business like (after all I am a businesswoman)
- Wanted to “fit in” and to be approachable.
- What could I wear that was going to let me be both of these things?
- A conservative, classic leather jacket
- A striped casual, fitted top
Since I work with corporations and assist business people with their personal brands, people often ask me, “What is business casual and what are the guidelines to follow?”
First, let me tell you what business casual is not. Business casual is not weekend attire. If you want to keep your bar raised and attain a certain level of professionalism, do not wear your weekend outfits to the office. This includes sweat pants, wrinkled clothing, t-shirts with logos of your favorite band, yoga pants, athletic shoes etc. Funny, how we see this mistake being made all the time but it’s also time to raise the bar of casual style.
Nowadays, when getting ready to purchase a new item for my wardrobe, I ask myself the question ” Can I wear this to a meeting and will it work for my casual outings….out to dinner with friends or my husband”? If so, then I am willing to spend on the investment piece. My leather jacket is perfect for business and casual events. It has become my “go to” piece. If you don’t wear leather, high quality faux leather is a good option too.
Here is what I wore for the casual meeting with the coaches:
Striped top (similar here)
Etro Scarf (similar here)
Here is the same outfit but with straight legged, dark wash jeans and some classic tall leather boots. This is perfect for going to a movie with friends or out to dinner with my husband. If you have some updated staples like these jeans and boots in your closet you can always walk out the door feeling fabulous after 40!
I really have gotten a great deal of mileage out of my leather jacket. It gets better with age and I am so happy with the investment I made and will have it for years to come. In the spring, I will wear it with white jeans and a navy top.
With just a few high quality basics in your closet you can mix and match them and always walk out the door looking sharp!
Lisa Taylor Richey is a business etiquette trainer and speaker and the founder of The American Academy of Etiquette.
Do you have a leather or faux leather jacket just sitting in your closet? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!