It’s inevitable for everyone to change their priorities as they grow: we socialize with friends in a different way, we start to value alone-time and a good nights’ sleep a bit more, and we face the fact that we have to be a bit more professional in the office. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you have to put your alternative style behind you completely, as there are many ways to be professional and yet unconventional at the same time.
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Her Majesty the hair
Lovers of alternative styles usually love experimenting with hair colours too: every colour of the rainbow, undercuts, highlights, asymmetric bangs, and a ton of hairspray are tried out and much loved. Still, you don’t want to be seen as ‘freak’ or appear unprofessional among your coworkers so you might want to tone it down a bit (notice we didn’t say you should give it up). Instead of wearing your hair in spikes you could try braiding it in a crown or decorating it with different accessories (hair spikes, polka-dot bows, glittery barrettes, lace headbands, and adorable hair pins are lifesavers). Not only will these things help you keep your hair away from your face, but they’ll look cute and not over-the-top.
For the love of makeup
Makeup is a big issue in the workplace because so many of us love expressing ourselves with makeup but it’s not always office-appropriate. While enormous feathery fake lashes and glittery eyeshadow might not work, there are some really good alternatives you could try out. A lot of Australian women opt to get an eyelash lift in Sydney and other big cities because it makes their eyes ‘pop’ without having to apply faux lashes. Good old winged eyeliner and a dash of shimmery eyeshadow on the bottom lid draw attention to your eyes without making you look like you’re on your way to a club. If bold lipstick isn’t welcome at your workplace, you could always try a tinted lip balm with a touch of glitter instead – it’ll keep your lips hydrated and look great at the same time.
If there isn’t a strict dress code at your workplace you’re in luck, and you can improvise a bit. You don’t have to buy half a dozen suits and wear them to the office every day; instead, you could try combining ‘serious’ with ‘alternative’ pieces and get a business-casual look that works well for most offices. A simple skirt or pants with a silk blouse that has a nice print and a cardigan will look professional, and if your print of choice means pineapples, flamingos, or spider webs and flowers it won’t stand out too much.
Cherry on top
If you have to wear a uniform or particular shade of different colours to work, you might think that you don’t have any room for self-expression but it’s not the case. You can easily use accessories to show off your individuality without standing out too much from your co-workers. Brooches and badges are discreet and don’t draw too much attention so you can wear something exciting (or plain strange) if you want: flowers, bats, birds, even sugar skulls. Scarves with print are also a good idea as you can tie them in a way that the print doesn’t show clearly. Not only is it a good way to wear something that makes you feel good, but it will look great too.
The devil is in the details
Sometimes all it takes to make you feel comfortable is that tiny little detail that not many people notice. You can focus on your nails and flaunt nice nail art, it makes your nails look good and neat, or you can wear stockings with an interesting print. If you have your own desk, you can decorate it with photos of your friends and family in lovely frames, or you can even try making your own paperweights out of big rocks you can hand-paint at home.
We already mentioned that growing up means prioritizing things differently than before, and we all have to understand that being professional and responsible at work should be a priority. On the other hand, you can get creative and try finding other forms of self-expression that won’t be seen as odd by your supervisor or the people you work with. Try to be patient and prove yourself as a good and reliable worker first, that way people will be assured that you’re a professional and pay less attention to your clothes.
About the Author: Audrey
Audrey Taylor was born in San Francisco and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across Europe. Her hobbies include home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies. You can find her on Twitter HERE.
Previous Guest Posts by Audrey: From Morticia Addams to Femme Fatale: Why Smoky Eyes Are A Must!
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