Dressing Professionally with Vintage Inspired Style

In case you're not aware, I work for an eCommerce consultancy. My office is small and extremely laid back, but about once or twice a week, I'm attending client meetings at large clothing brands and retailers' offices. All of this begs the question: what's a gal with vintage-inspired style supposed to wear? I've seen plenty of how "to dress professionally in your 20s" articles, but I've seriously been struggling with having a creative job and maintaining my personal style. I'm in a position where I don't have to wear typical professional clothes like blazers, but it also doesn't feel appropriate to wear puppy dresses and ice cream skirts. To make matters more complicated, I'm pretty young for the position I'm in and often meeting with way more experienced people, which means that I don't want to go out of my way to look younger.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and I feel like I've started to do a better job of buying items that feel like "me," but still make me feel like I can be taken seriously if an eComm executive stops by our office (which honestly could happen any day). I have a feeling others might be in a similar position, so I've put together a few tips I've picked up anyone else in that very specific niche of "dressing professionally in a creative job as a modern vintage girl":

Buy vintage silhouettes in simple prints: This is been the #1 thing for me and the reason why I chose this outfit for this post. I'm never going to feel comfortable in silk blouses in pencil skirts (though those are totally great for professional, but stylish outfits!), but I am always going to feel comfortable in fit and flare dress. This dress is perfect because it's everything I love and would wear on a weekend - lace, florals, and pleats - but it's not too busy and still works for a meeting. I wouldn't necessarily wear this dress to a meeting, but I would absolutely wear the same style it in a different color print. 

Mid skirts, midi skirts, midi skirts: Midi skirts have been favorite trend this past year, and I've been buying them more than ever ever since I realized how much I was wearing them to meetings. They still feel retro, but they're undoubtedly professional looking. On the weekend, I wear them with bright colors and scarves, but I wear them with 3/4 length sleeves and cardigans to the office. 

Collars: Duh. It's no secret (in fact, I practically shout it on this blog) that I love a good collar, and they're the easiest piece to transition from personal wardrobe to work wardrobe. 

Vintage style sweaters are a girl's best friend: this one certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but the biggest thing I struggle with is having a bigger bust. It's hard to feel professional with accidental cleavage, and it definitely isn't fun having to try to discreetly try to pull up a top every five minutes while talking to a client. Because of this, I stay away from the one thing every magazine says working women need: a button down shirt. Instead, I've replaced button downs with lightweight sweaters like this one. Less uncomfortable fidgeting, but same comfortable style.

Stylish bag options: One of the easiest ways I've been able to incorporate my style into my work wardrobe is with my laptop bag. I have a laptop sleeve so the actual bag I use just needs to fit it, but I've found that this is a big part of my work style, especially with consulting. Instead of looking for an expensive professional bag or a boring laptop one, I've carried everything from stylish messenger bags, cute backpacks (my last bag, but in black), or a fun tote bags (what I'm currently using). Bags have proven to be the easiest way to wear something whimsical without being too attention-grabbing.

So that's that! I can't say my tips are anything groundbreaking, but it's something that I've been struggling with lately. If you're in a similar position, let me know what you do to stay true to your style, but dress work-appropriate!

Dress: ASOS
Shoes: B.A.I.T.


  1. Such interesting thoughts about how to maintain your style and be work appropriate! Teaching feels like something different than both corporate/office jobs and creative roles, but I still felt a lot of this really applied there too; so cool your advice was so universal.

    I really agree that you can have some of those silhouettes that are vintage, but you just need to pay attention to cut and pattern just the same.

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