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Adapt to Your Environment

So, you have a new (or first) corporate job. Congratulations! Now what to wear? Each office, company and industry are different. You have to adapt to your workplace and make your best effort to look the part and fit in while standing out. Confusing? Yes, it certainly can be. In this blog series, we've been talking about what Business Casual really looks like as it's becoming the most common workplace attire for work as many companies.

In many cases, especially recent college graduates, you'll want to build your wardrobe from the "casual" ground up when you get a new job. That’s okay, you can start with some basic pieces and build on those (My top 5 staples for your wardrobe are here).

I know many young professionals who hate getting dressed for the office. Sure, they’d rather wear their t-shirt and jeans or yoga pants. But here’s the thing. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t love doing. That’s called life. Not everything is about being comfortable and easy. For example, we don’t enjoy paying taxes, but we do it. Why? It’s required of us to do so. If you want to be in a professional environment or become an entrepreneur, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Sometimes you just have to adapt. I had to.

When I began working for an NFL team, wardrobe became a hilarious topic for me. Think about it. Most of my co-workers were either men in khaki pants and a team polo or they wore pads, cleats and two-tone uniforms. I was one of very few women in the workplace and on the field on game days. I had to look professional while standing in the hot sun or bitter cold on game day. I couldn’t wear high heels on the field, they’d sink into the grass. So, I had to adapt. I added several cute flats and a few wedge heels to my business casual wardrobe. But it wasn’t that easy.

I’ll never forget my very first game. It was hot and muggy outside with the August humidity. I had on a black pair of slacks, wedge heels, a bright peach colored blouse and a turquoise necklace. It was a great color contrast and yes, I looked professional. You will often find me wearing turquoise since I’m from New Mexico. I stood on the sideline as my team came out of the tunnel for warm ups. The guys ran by and snickered at me, some pointing their finger or giving me an odd look. I asked our assistant why they were, in a sense, sort of heckling me? What’s up with that? I’m on their team.

He said, “Well, you look like your rooting for the other team.”

I looked over to the opposing team’s tunnel as the Miami Dolphins were coming out for their warm up in white, peach and turquoise.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. Lesson learned.

Fast forward…. I would find myself looking stylish in a leopard print trench coat on a cold winter game day, only to realize that we were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars. I'd pull the jacket off and have to find something else to wear quickly! It became a very comical thing as my stories go on and on. So, I made a decision early on. I’d make it easy on myself, since I didn’t have our two-tone colors in my work wardrobe. I’d wear pink on game days. That’s right, PINK! That should be a safe choice. And for many years, many games and many photos later, you’d see me on the sidelines wearing pink. The morale of the story is that sometimes you have to adapt to your new environment, wear what’s expected and appropriate for your industry. I didn't go out and buy a huge wardrobe of two-tone team colors, but I did figure it out.

Need some ideas for your business casual wardrobe? Check out my Pinterest Board here.

Well, that’s all I have for now.

Special thanks to the LEGACY team for your research and assistance with this blog.


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