When I graduated Grad school this past spring I was super excited and in theory I was ready to jump start my life as a "career woman". In reality, I was having a mental break down. I don't know how to be an adult! I don't even pay my own cell phone bill. I mean sure, I couldn't wait to start making actual money and not have to scrounge up change from the pockets of old winter jackets to buy a magazine or a cup of coffee, but let's be honest, how could I be ready for the "real world"?? Unfortunately, this freak out was premature because it's been about 7 months and I am only employed part time and only working two days a week in my chosen profession.
As a family therapist, it's important that I look professional. After all, I am expecting my clients to reveal the skeletons in their closets and cobwebs from under their beds and it's important to look mature enough to handle their secrets and know what I'm talking about. This is when I like to rely upon a little strategy I like to call: "Fake it Till you Make it"! As a 20 something trying to pose as a confident, intelligent, professional I have found a few tricks that help me feel like the clinician I want to be.
Trick #1: Wear glasses, even if you're more into contacts dig up your old frames! That whole middle school persona of the smart kid wearing glasses absolutely helps me feel like I am dressing the part.
Trick #2: Your hair is important. If you have super long hair think about getting a fresh cut, some new layers and a shorter due will absolutely give you a mature look. If you love your locks, use my standby style- a side ponytail with an elastic band that matches your hair color. The look is chic, professional, and takes about 1 minute from start to finish. For other professional styles check out my pinterest.
Trick #3: Invest in good shoes. If you are wearing old beat up ballet flats that you wore at your summer job, most likely you're going to feel like you're wearing old crappy ballet flats working in a coffee shop. Invest in a timeless pair of work appropriate heels and a sturdy pair of riding boots. If you can already talk the talk, you might as well walk the walk. Right?
Trick #4: Shop around for clothes. I worked at Banana Republic for years. I know the brand well enough to know NEVER buy anything full priced! Everything goes on sale about once every other month and they issue coupons constantly. If you need new work clothes and are low on cash stick to basics. Join Banana Republic and Jcrew's mailing lists for great work wear pieces and TONS of sales! If you wear a stack of bracelets (like me) everyday, only wear two or three for work. If you love bright colors try just having one bright element like a cashmere scarf or patterned skirt. Oh, and NEVER underestimate the power of Marhsals, TJ Maxx or any other discount store, they usually have great basics like amazing shoes or pleated trousers for the fraction of the cost.
Trick #5: Office Supply Stores are your friend! You can always tell a rookie by an employee without the proper materials. Need a signature and don't have a pen? Fail. Get organized and figure out all of the supplies you need ahead of time. It never hurts to take note of what other employees have around the office either! I always have a written agenda just in case my phone dies and a pencil case filled with pens in various colors, flash drive, and post its.
With these quick tricks you too will be able to look work chic without giving up your real age!