- Stylists critiqued my go-to outfits to help them look more casual and professional.
- The stylists said I should look for pieces with more structure to accentuate my waist and curves.
- They suggested adding more neutral colors to my wardrobe with accessories or a single piece of clothing.
I’m a 22-year-old freelance writer living in New York City, and I love expressing myself through color.
Most of my outfits have colour, especially pink because it makes me feel happier and more confident – I even dyed my hair pink.
I’ve never been afraid to express my style in the workplace. I’ve worn hot pink outfits to the office and a face full of glitter because I like it and ultimately it doesn’t detract from my job performance.
As I’m starting to “grow up,” I think it’s important to learn how to make my colorful outfits look more tasteful and professional when a neon pink dress won’t do.
To help, I asked stylists Holly Katz, Maggie Gillette, and Leena Alsulaiman for advice on improving my looks.
For the first look, Katz suggested high-waisted pants and a cropped top
I started with a look that I found to be on the more subtle side in terms of color as only my shirt is alive.
In this case, it wasn’t the light pink color that didn’t work here – it was the way it was styled.
My oversized shirt did me no favours.
“There’s a lack of waist definition and structured clothing here,” Katz said. “Wearing an oversized top creates the illusion that you look taller than you are.”
She also suggested swapping out my leggings for stretch wide-leg pants to “create the illusion of a longer, slimmer leg.”
She said this style of pants can help me look taller and define my waist.
For my next outfit, Alsulaiman suggested leaving the blazer undone and changing my hairdo
This is my favorite outfit when intentionally trying to dress professionally as suits are usually considered appropriate in the workplace.
I usually pair it with black flats and wear the button up blazer top to make it look more form fitting.
Alsulaiman said this look can be less formal but still professional.
She told me to “keep the blazer open to add dimension to the outfit” and said it was more flattering that way since it only had one button.
She added: “You can also make the outfit less formal by putting your hair up in a playful way. Maybe space buns or a high ponytail with a colorful headscarf.”
When I’m looking for a statement, this all pink outfit is my go-to
Although I would wear this outfit to the office, I would also wear it to a drag show after work as it is bold and fun.
I don’t think fun, sparkly shoes can inherently indicate the level of professionalism, but some may disagree.
“The boots are super cool, but not for work,” Gillette said. “Consider swapping out your shoes for something plain like black ballet flats.”
I wouldn’t normally consider wearing neutral flats with a pink outfit, but I’m willing to try if it makes me look dressier.
This maxi dress is cute, but it has too much fabric and needs accessorizing
Dresses are my ultimate choice when going to an event, to the office or just for a day in NYC. I love this dress because it’s super long and flowy, but one stylist said it could be better if it was shorter.
“Try cutting this dress down to a midi length that’s about 2 inches below your knee,” Katz said. “It gives you a little more length in the waist and draws attention to your upper half.”
Also, she suggested adding a wide, stretchy black belt to accentuate my waist. The belt can pull in the extra fabric and create a more flattering silhouette.
Finally, Gillette suggested adding a solid color blazer to bring this kawaii look together
I never considered wearing a blazer over the dress because it would hide the puff sleeves, but I trust the stylists’ advice when it comes to making this look more tasteful and professional.
“Having a black blazer or cardigan in your closet helps integrate items like boldly patterned dresses and tops into a work wardrobe while adding a touch of personality,” she said.
Next time I’ll wear a blazer and pin my hair up to accentuate the collar, adding a sophisticated shine.
Overall, the stylists enjoyed my unique sense of style and I may or may not accept their suggestions
The stylists especially praised my colorful and unique style and these suggestions should help me tailor my looks.
I know my outfits aren’t for everyone, but at the end of the day what counts is that I like them.
If I’m comfortable in my outfits, they’re doing their job and these suggestions are only to be used if I want to – not because I have to conform to societal standards.