Have you wondered what to wear to a business meeting to look professional but not overdressed?
Etiquette expert Lisa Taylor Ritchey of The American Academy of Etiquette had a meeting at a country club with a tennis coach. Standing in her closet pondering over what to wear she felt overwhelmed. The problem: She needed to look business like, but she wanted to “fit in” and to be approachable. What was she supposed to wear to let her be both those things?
- A conservative, classic leather jacket
- A striped casual fitted top
I asked Lisa how she came to this decision and here’s what she told me.
Lisa: 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 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 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
Deb: Thanks Lisa!