How to be a Latina DRESSING the part in the Corporate World – Part 2

Workplace Fashion DON’TSThings you should not wear to work

I love going salsa dancing. And when I get a chance to get out dancing, you better believe I am coming dressed to impress – which includes being sexy. But going out salsa dancing and working at a 9 to 5 in the corporate world are 2 completely different worlds. In the beginning, it was VERY hard for me to differentiate between the two different types of “dressing up”. You dress up to go to the club and you dress up to go to work, but that doesn’t mean that you wear the same type of “dress up” outfit to both places. In the club, you WANT to get attention. At work, the LAST thing you want to get attention for, is because of what you are wearing.

  • Stiletto heels – heels higher than a 3 inch heel generally should be saved for the club. Heels that have wedges at the bottom, to create a higher heal should definitely not be worn at work, as they’re probably a little too reminiscent of working dancers. But the height of the heel isn’t the only indicator that it’s not appropriate for work. Glittery sequins, bright adorning jewels, feathers, straps that wrap around the ankle – all these things make the shoes not the best choice for work.
  • Gauzy material – we’ve all done it once or another – well I know I have anyway! Bought a sexy fitted sheer shirt and then added a sexy black lacy bra underneath to finish the look. This is something that you can definitely wear if you have the confidence out to the club, to go out dancing, but to work, no way. Your shirt, skirt, pants should not be see through at the work place.
  • Flip flops – flip flops are becoming part of fashion and aren’t only for using at the beach or the pool. However they still haven’t made it past the level of casual wear. Casual wear should not be worn in the work place – especially not flip flops. The only time I actually did wear flip flops to work was when I was pregnant and my swollen fat feet couldn’t fit into any normal foot wear. So I bought sequined flip flops and had to wear those to work. But due to my condition, I believe most people didn’t hold it against me, especially when they saw my poor swollen feet.
  • Sneakers – although fitness gear was not a topic I wanted to touch upon, as Latinas typically are very style conscious and won’t be caught dead in a sneaker all day at work – there are some who do. If you come to work in sneakers for comfort – change your shoes once you get to work. If not, you take the chance that you can look slovenly and unkempt, especially if your sneakers have not been cleaned lately. Change them as soon as you get to work. The same goes for snow boots and rain boots.
  • T-shirts with words on them – any shirt that has words written on it should not be worn to work. Unless it’s underneath a form fitting blazer and the text is either hidden or camouflaged as a design because it is not all showing.

Skin that you should not show at work

  • Too much cleavage – Well, I am a woman and I buy clothes that accentuate that fact, so how do I know when too much cleavage is being shown? If you look at yourself in the mirror and your eyes are automatically drawn to your breasts, you may be showing too much cleavage. Are you questioning whether a shirt is acceptable? Sit down in a chair and see how the shirt may shift when you are seated. Does it become tighter across the bodice? Do the buttons strain? If the answers are yes, do yourself a favor and leave it for weekend wear.
  • Your belly – Your belly should NEVER, I repeat NEVER, show while you are at work in a corporate environment. If it does, you need to consider if you raise your arms to pick up something more will show and probably expose your back as well. This is very unprofessional. CHANGE the shirt or pair it with a long tank underneath that can give you the additional coverage that you need without taking away from the look you were going for.
  • Your lower back – Like midriff tops, super low rise pants show too much skin and create a distraction. Opt for more modest styles to be taken more seriously at work.
  • Your Thighs – If your skirt is short enough that your thighs are showing, it’s probably a mini skirt and definitely not for the workplace.
  • Your shoulders – Although wearing sleeveless dresses is now becoming accepted, strapless dresses and dresses with spaghetti straps, these are still not acceptable in the workplace. Save them for the weekend.

Rules for accessories

  • Are pantyhose/stockings a must in the workplace? In the past, it was considered inappropriate and brazen for a woman to wear skirt or dress that showed her legs and not cover her legs with stockings. In 2009, we have finally gotten to a point where stockings are not a requirement to wear a skirt. If you can carry the look, there’s no harm in it. But just remember that you must make sure that your skirt length is appropriate. If you mistakenly combine a short skirt with bare legs, you can do yourself a really big disservice.
  • I went to Catholic school up until I graduated from High school – and so a lot of my thoughts on jewelry in the workplace, I’ve retained from my time in Catholic school. No hoop earrings. Earrings no larger than a quarter. One necklace. Minimalism is what I try to practice. If your jewelry seems to overpower you and your outfit than do as Coco Chanel said “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”.
  • Piercings, although much more common, are not seen as professional in the workplace. While you are interviewing, you want to make sure that you don’t have any noticeable body piercings, and once you are employed, you want to pretty much stick to that as well. Others can perceive you as young, immature, and it can mean you can miss out on promotions at work. Anything extreme should be minimalized – ear stretchers, more than a couple of piercings per ear, etc.
  • Tattoos – I personally love tattoos, as I see them as bodily art. And tattoos can be a very personal means of self-expression, a way of memorializing a loved one, and any other number of things. But your personal acceptance and love for tattoos doesn’t mean everyone will feel that way. My husband for example still believes that women and men that have lots of exposed tattoos are “trashy” and no way is this true. Whereas I tend to see people with heavy tattoos as artistically creative, he sees them as trashy. So what does this mean? If you work in a corporate environment, try and keep all tattoos on your body in a place that can be covered by your clothing.
  • Make-up – Yes, believe it or not, there is even a difference in the way that you do your makeup for the club versus makeup for the daytime. Excessive makeup is not appropriate in the workplace. When you make up your face for a day in the office, make yourself look fresh and alert. Dark colors and shadows are not necessary for a day time look. When it comes to jewelry and makeup at work, remember the mantra “less is more”. You don’t want to distract people with your make up.
  • Hair – JUST SAY NO to extreme colors and cuts that could leave you looking more like a wild parrot than a dedicated employee. Natural looks are always better. And if you are looking for a hair change on weekends, buy a couple of wigs to wear and change your look completely, while remaining corporate during the work week.

This topic reminds me of my first real full time corporate position. In the department where I worked, there was a woman there who I really thought was off her rocker. Her attire was risqué to say the least and her makeup wasn’t far behind. She frequently wore wigs to work, she would highlight her brows in white, wear bright colored eye shadows. Glossy bright colors in her lips, that were always lined in black eyeliner. Bright red rouge on her cheeks and colored mascara. Did she see what we all saw when we looked at her? No I’m sure she didn’t. She probably thought that her work should speak for itself and she shouldn’t be judged for her looks. But that’s not the society we live it. I always thought of her as a strange bird. And could not for the life of me, get passed her strange attire, hair and makeup. Apparently our manager couldn’t either, she never moved up beyond her entry level data entry position within the company, although she had been there for more time than most of us in the department. Her growth within the company was stagnated because of how she looked.
 
If you look like Lady Gaga when you are heading out to work in the morning, you’re going to have to turn back around and bring it down a few levels. Remember, “less is more” when it comes to accessorizing and make up at work.


 
Where do I go from here?? Still feeling a little confused after reading my blog? I suggest watching TLC’s show “WHAT NOT TO WEAR”. They remake women of all shapes and sizes to look their absolute best. Watch the shows for ideas on how to make your body shape look it’s best without being seen as provocative at work.

How to be a Latina DRESSING the part in the Corporate World

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” — Coco Chanel
Do people stop and stare when you walk in the room? Has your boss actually had to bring you into his/her office to counsel you on appropriate work place attire? As Latinas, we’ve been raised to embrace and accentuate our femininity. Most of us have become so good at enhancing our feminine side that it tends to ooze from every pore. Sounds great right? Yes, when you’re with your man or out at the club, it’s wonderful, but this doesn’t always go over well in the work place.


Before I was laid off from my position in the corporate world, every night and most mornings I would peer into my closet and stress over what to wear to work. As a Latina I truly embrace all aspects of my femininity. I love my body and wearing clothing that remind my man that I am a woman and therefore very different than he. I want his eyes on me. We all know that the Latino male is known to have wandering eyes, and whether that’s true or not, I’m not one who wants to take a chance on it. So I dress to keep his eyes on me. Not outrageously but everything I wear is definitely not anything a man would wear.


Some days though, when I get to work in my form fitting skirt that accentuates my Latina curves, I feel out of place and question why did I choose this? I looked fine at home, but now I feel too sexy for the work place. Do you ever find yourself in this position? Well here are a few rules that I pulled together based on my own experiences at work.  Mind you, I have not by any means done all of these things, but I have seen numerous people who have made one or more of these mistakes.  And while you might think fashion mistakes at work could not possibly be a big deal, guess what?   They can be and they are.  Fashion faux pas at work can cost you that job before your interview is completed, they can make your boss think you are young and immature and not ready to handle a promotion, and they can even make a reputation for you without you having to do a thing.  I know, I know!  You are all saying “well that’s not fair!  I should be judged by my work not by how I look”.  Well honey this is America, and as we Latinas know, sometimes you are judged before you say a word so make sure you play by the rules to give yourself a fair shot at all things that you deserve. So take a moment and read through the list.  You’ll be glad you did in the end.