Starting Over with a Bottomless Closet

July 18, 2011

Celebrity stylist Derek Warburton invited me to join him as a guest stylist at the non-profit organization Bottomless Closet, to help women getting back into the workforce learn how to dress for success.  The evening started with each woman tell her story and their success job hunting.  The strength of each woman was truly inspiring.  Their steadfast belief in themselves despite the road blocks and adversities showed the stylists helping them that it always gets better.

We headed into the clothing, shoes and accessories closet after the introductions to help the women shop for looks that would boost their confidence at work.  The well organized closet contains designer items donated by New Yorkers and designers.  I was impressed with the amount of brand new career dresses donated by designer Elizabeth McKay.  There were suits by Calvin Klein and Versace, Milly and Donna Karan dresses, Stuart Weitzman heels and so much more.  The sizes also varied widely; ranging from a 0 to 26.

I, along with Kenton magazine editor Alexander Liang and Derek Warburton and other guest stylists, showed the women the perfect colors to compliment their skin tones, looks that are work appropriate and how to accessorize their looks for a corporate environment.

The Bottomless Closet fashion stylist volunteers, also referred to as the “Fashion Force,” is always there to help women learn how to look the part for the jobs they want, not the ones they have.  Here are a few tips on how to dress for work in the Summer.

  • Show off with color, not skin! Embrace summer by choosing bold pieces, such as a floral print skirt or a bright-colored belt.
  • Dress in layers. Keep a lightweight blazer or cardigan handy to throw on in case your office blasts the air-conditioning.
  • Give your skinny jeans a rest.  Wear pants that sport a wider cuff, such as flared dark jeans or long trousers.
  • Choose loose-fitting dresses that you can breathe in. Make sure they’re long enough to bend over comfortably.
  • Save revealing clothing such as tube tops or strapless dresses for the beach!
  • Keep your nails professional too! Wear a neutral color like ballet slippers when getting your manicure and pedicure.
  • Wear white pants!  But be sure to wear nude undergarments.
  • Flip-flops are best for the pool, not for work. Instead, find comfort in gladiator sandals or wedges.
  • Nix the Daisy Dukes. Try a pair of work-friendly shorts that are longer fitted.
  • Steer clear from sheer clothing. Do not wear linen or chiffon fabrics without appropriate undergarments.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear clothing that will keep you cool in the summer.  But make sure that bra straps are not visible under strappy tanks or dresses.
  • Don’t be too flashy with your accessories.
Stick to simple and traditional pieces such as pearls or stud earrings.  When taking these tips into consideration, keep in mind that every work environment has individualized dress codes or cultures that dictate what is/is not appropriate.  When in doubt, it is better to be safe than sorry and take the conservative route.

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