5 Simple Ways To Look Polished & Retain Your Personal Style

How many of you have ever felt like you were in costume when you got dressed up for an event or business meeting? I'm pretty sure every hand was raised. It can be very hard to retain a sense of personal style when having to adhere to a dress code or needing to up your style game.

Recently, a potential client reached out because she wanted help with this very thing. She is a self-described "jeans and t-shirt girl," but having recently quit one job to focus full-time on her passion job (congrats!!), she wants to look professional, put together, and full of confidence, while not sacrificing her own personal style OR having to be too focused on fashion.

I know we have ALL faced this at one point or another while staring into our closets bemoaning what to wear or wearing something that works but that is totally not us. With that in mind, I've got 5 different ways you can up your style game without deviating from your fashion comfort level.

Pictures via Pinterest

Pictures via Pinterest

1. Upgrade your color.

Nope, not your hair color, your jeans color! If you are in a less formal industry, dark wash denim can look darn near dressy while still giving off a casually put together vibe. Avoid all light wash denim for the times you need to look polished. There are certainly ways to make light wash jeans look amazing, but they lend outfits a more casual feel. 

Pictures via Pinterest

Pictures via Pinterest

2. Add a blazer. 

Buy one, well tailored, blazer. Adding a blazer on even over jeans can take an outfit from super casual to casual business meeting in seconds. While I recommend buying the best quality blazer that you can for your money, perhaps the single best thing I can say is to take your blazer to a tailor. A tailor can make even an cheap blazer look amazing simply through a few nips and tucks and giving you proportions that work for your body type - this can often include taking up sleeves, taking in shoulders, or adding darts to define your waist. 

3. Choose a heel or pointy toe for shoes.

Hopefully it's clear that flip flips or stilettos are out for a business meeting. But what shoe do you wear if you never wear heels or hate flats? For the heel lovers out there- keep your heel between 2-3 inches and avoid platform heels like the plague; open toes for most office/business meetings are also a no-no. For those who love flats, simply buy a flat with a pointed toe - no ballet or rounded toe flats here (you can read THIS blog post for more on that topic!). 

4. Cinch it.

A belt can quite literally transform your loose, errand-running day dress into a shape-defining, tailored little dress. Add your favorite blazer and a good shoe and you're off and running. (see #2 and #3). 

5. Accessorize.

Even if you eschew jewelry, a simple pair of studs will help you look more polished. While no one may comment on your earrings, it's the little, thoughtful details that make a whole look and people will be impressed with the overall package.

So there you go. 5 simple ways to look more polished while still looking like yourself. 

Sydney Lester is a Richmond, Virginia-based personal stylist who creates wardrobes that reflect your life + style.