Monday Start-Up: How to Dress for Work

by Rachel Yeomans | March 17th, 2014   

Last week I spoke at DePaul University during their “Life after Lincoln Park” event series. I originally was invited to speak about freelancing as a profession (be prepared, students; be very prepared), but after they reviewed TheWorkingWardrobe, they asked if I would put together a presentation focused on how to dress for work.

As much as I talk about work fashion, I surprisingly am not asked to present about it regularly. I am asked to consult teams or individuals on how to dress for work. But when presenting to an association or group at a conference or school, it’s mostly about social media, personal/professional branding and publishing in the digital era.

So needless to say, I was so excited! First, the outfit:

how dress work Monday Start Up: How to Dress for Work

I wore a polka-dot tunic that I found in the rotating sample sale at Chelsea Market along with an Anni Kuan blazer, black tights and knee-high black heeled boots. I tried to accessorize it up a bit to add some play to the black and white patterns throughout both the blazer and tunic. So I wore a silver star pin I found in a vintage shop, a statement bracelet that I discovered in Paris, a simple black watch that my mother gave me for Christmas, a pair of cubic earrings, a pair of purple ball earrings and my favorite statement ring from Banana Republic.

Now, for the presentation:



I had a lot of fun putting the presentation together, and I enjoyed answering the many questions had by the students. Here are a few examples:

  • Q: For men, what suits should you wear in the summer?
  • A: Stick with linen or a light cotton. Also think about lightening layers underneath your suit. For instance, try wearing a high quality solid-colored t-shirt from Kenneth Cole or Banana Republic versus wearing the typical undershirt and button-down.
  • Q: What are some of the first things you notice when interviewing someone for a job?
  • A: For me, I notice hands and shoes. Be well-kept – not necessarily manicured – and clean. Those details come out in nails and footwear more so than clothing most of the time.

I hope I get to speak more about this topic in front of groups, but my social media decks are on standby if need be. Do you have any questions about what you should wear to work? I’m all ears! Ask away and I’ll gladly reply.


Wait, it's a rotating sample sale? Meaning it's always there?! I had no idea! I shopped it once when I was in town last year but I didn't know it was a regular thing!

theworkwardrobe moderator

@style_wire  Oh yes it's indeed rotating! I went almost every month when I lived was very (VERY) dangerous