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A Simple Guide to Dressing Appropriately

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Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images

Dressing appropriately is the most important skill a young woman can possess. Its meaning can vary by equally contributing factors of age and event. Being age-appropriate has the most wiggle room. Short dresses and ponytails are normally related to young school-aged girls, but with ever-changing trends, different climates and a growing fitness movement, there are many ways to pull off younger or older styles and making them work for you. The key is to be chic and have taste. Learn to interpret the trend you follow. What about it is so popular? Can you incorporate those elements into your existing wardrobe? Or should you take a pass instead?
The most intricate part is dressing for a specific type of event. Here is a brief overview of several factors.

  1. Be mindful of what is socially acceptable. Always be presentable. Given we all have hectic days, children, work, school, errands; it is not easy being a woman. We don’t always have the luxury of planning outfits or grooming ourselves to perfection, however, yesterday’s sweatpants and dirty hair should never leave your home. Looking unkempt gives off the impression of carelessness. Even a trip to the gym requires fresh, clean clothes and suitable footwear. Use of a communal area such as this demands the respect of good hygiene and cleanliness.
  2. Always remember your 5 W’s. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Let’s take a sporting event for example: Athletic apparel is expected, and team colors are acceptable but a little black dress paired with Louboutin heels would not be. A more advanced example would be say, a fundraising picnic in the park for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. You want to keep it casual, low key, comfortable and most importantly affordable. This type of event would not be the place to show off your new, expensive clothes and accessories. Be respectful of the purpose at hand yet presentable to meet new people. Do feel free to dress very casually. Do not show up in attire with low necklines, high hemlines, or anything that would offend the expected crowd. These include profanity-laced screen tees, extravagant jewelry, or anything that would give the impression of being uninterested as the focus is on a much greater cause.
  3. This leads into checking necklines and hemlines regularly. Doing so will ensure never getting caught with a panty shot or nip-slip. Even at a night club, inappropriate. Should your dress have a plunging neckline, it is still necessary to monitor yourself throughout the night. A little cleavage never hurt anybody, but indecent exposure is illegal for a reason. A bit of advice would be to invest in double-sided tape (available at Walgreens or Target) to keep your breasts at bay. A pair of black or nude spandex shorts works best to conceal thong underwear. Nothing is more embarrassing than falling on your face in front of a crowd, except of course falling on your face with your dress ending up over your head. That cute, purple G-string isn’t so cute anymore, is it?
  4. Display what is expected of you. In the case of a work event, dress professionally. Are you expected to supervise or coordinate? If so, dress the part. Your staff will need to identify you amongst the crowd. Also, this will help potential clientele direct questions, requests or concerns to the correct person. Should the job require you to stand all day, opt for comfortable shoes. Loafers, for example, or tasteful flats. This minimizes any mishaps due to clumsiness, necessary traveling, and difficulty maneuvering through the venue.

Dressing appropriately isn’t about dressing how you think others would want you to, or even an image you wish to portray, it all sums up to respect. A woman at any age should be respectful just as much as she wants to be respected. She must first think of how to dress appropriately before putting her own style and twist into her outfit. Fashion, like any art, is a means of expression. Adhering to these simple guidelines not only elevates your own image, but also projects the type of attitude you carry in certain situations. When dressed appropriately at work, you will be regarded as a professional and treated like one. Socially, you’ll want to look put-together and fun. The very most important thing to leave with is to always be genuine. Confidence in how you are dressed boosts confidence and a woman with confidence is a force to be reckoned with.

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