Dressing Professionally


Please welcome Rachel Yeomans, founder of business fashion company RachelAnna Consulting and creator and editor-in-chief of the business fashion blog, TheWorkingWardrobe.com. Rachel has been writing, editing, and coveting fashion since her first magazine purchase.

Upon entering the corporate world, she found herself constantly pondering how her business fashions could still pull off a sense of style. Once she discovered how to incorporate her personal style into her working wardrobe, she was shocked to realize how much more productive she was! She then decided to take her love of fashion to the workplace and see if her working wardrobe, while continuing to work for her, could work for others. Yeomans also works as Chicago Style & Event Contributor for LittleDesignerBook.com and Fashion Editor for SecondCityStyle.com.

Scarves have quite literally wrapped themselves around every season’s fashion trend and have turned into an iconic wardrobe staple. People wear them with every outfit, in every season, and in many different ways. Yet despite the scarf’s popularity, the accessory hasn’t necessarily been utilized for one particular setting – the workplace.

Perhaps people think scarves are too casual for a corporate dress code? Do employees place the use of the scarf alongside that of a space heater – it provides a function but is typically frowned upon by senior management? Or does the scarf just not ‘go’ with your work outfit?

The scarf is just as much an accessory as the brooch or the necklace. It makes a statement, but can be worn in a way that’s just slightly off. Here are some guidelines to start incorporating this fantastic accessory into your working wardrobe.

Keep it Thin
Stick with scarves that are thin in weight. You don’t want a bulky scarf bunching at your neck at the office – plus you don’t want to have an itchy and irritated neck at the end of the workday –  so opt for silk, linen, jersey, or fine cotton fabrics. For example, it is quite classy to wear a short, silk scarf tied elegantly around your neck to create a choker-like affect. It also strategically draws the eyes upward so colleagues will look at your face, leading to a stronger likelihood that they will be paying attention to what you are saying versus sneaking peeks at their smart phones.

Put Some Pattern Into It
The scarf, again, is an accessory. When wearing a piece of jewelry, you probably opt for one with some color and a bit of ‘pop’. The same goes for a scarf. Use it to put some pattern and color into your look! Make sure the color fits with your skin tone color palette (for example, if you have a blue/red skin tone, wear warm earthy colors). Also play up your eyes. If you wear a complimentary shade to your eye color, your face will instantly brighten, leaving a lasting and very complimentary impression on your colleagues and clients.

Work-Appropriate Ways to Wear a Scarf
There are several ways you can tie a scarf at work. The best length to work with is a medium to short length as then the ends rest to your collarbone. Any lower and it can be more of a distraction versus a piece of your outfit. If you wear a longer scarf, try tying it so the ends are hidden under a suit jacket or blazer to create a type of cravat or elegant bow-tie look. You can also tie it so it hangs elegantly below the neckline of your blazer and is tucked under your collar. For different tying methods, consult the Affordable Scarves How to Tie a Scarf Video Series.

And I know infinity scarves are extremely popular; however, I would keep them in your casual collection, unless it’s made of a thin silk-like material and you wrap it to the point of being fitted around the neck to create the choker-like affect mentioned earlier. Otherwise, it’s just a bit too casual for the workplace (of course, this does depend on the type of dress code your workplace demands – therefore, use your best judgment).

Not Just a Neck Accessory
If you love your new patterned scarf but you just can’t pull it off as an accessory around your neck, compromise and tie it around one of your handbag straps. You can then give some life to your purse while staying completely professional with your wardrobe.

There's no place like home! Take me back to ScarvesDotNet.

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