Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Special Interest Travel > Women Travelers
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Apr 23, 10, 7:58 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: San Francisco
Programs: DL Silver, WN A-List+, SPG Platinum
Posts: 12
Any suggestions for business/business casual attire for young women (~age 25)?

Hey Ladies (and Fellas passing by)!

I'm transitioning from a work-from-home assignment to a 9-month stint of weekly business travel. I have a very limited business/business casual wardrobe that's okay for once a week meetings in a biz casual office, but now I have to look sharp 4 days a week in front of the client.

Does anyone have advice on how I can build out my wardrobe with pieces that are both work-appropriate and fitting for a young professional? I want to look experienced and sleek while maintaining a bit of a youthful look. BUT, I don't want to look like I'm 25 (I've already been called a "baby" by someone in my company who calculated my age from my college graduation date.)

FWIW - I'm a management consultant, so I'd like to command a powerful presence in the office. Most of my colleagues are men and women 40-50 years old.

Thanks!
StellaStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 23, 10, 8:17 pm   #2
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Either at the shooting range or anywhere good beer can be found...
Programs: HH Diamond, Priority Club Platinum
Posts: 23,035
Stick with suits, or suit separates. If you're looking for inexpensive, check oldnavy.com for a few. If you can/want to spend more, check Macy's, Jones New York, etc. My suggestion is to go for classic styles/tailoring, and not worry about maintaining a youthful look. You'll look youthful because you are, but you want your clothes to convey a message of power and confidence. Leave the youthful clothes for outside of the office.
__________________
The church is near but the road is icy, the bar is far but I will walk carefully”
--Russian Proverb
kipper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 10, 7:23 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 546
Here's my suggestion:

Core pieces [ pants, jacket, a few well fitting tops, shoes ] - Banana Republic, J Crew, Inc brand at Macy's, Tahari at Macys, Limited, Express, Nordstrom's business clothing. Must fit well, have quality material, and construction to look sharp. My suggested stores are based on the ones that fit my body type, but a similar store catering to 25-30's should do.

Accessories and fun pops of color - H&M business section, Old Navy, Gap. These will help you express personality and youthfulness. Anthopologie if you like a bit of whimsy.

The tougher part in travel is that you'll be packing your clothes, so will want to choose pieces that don't wrinkle and work together. I tend to pack clothing in the same color category (mine's black and blues) so I can mix and match. Accessories can give you a nice pop of color and express your youthfulness. Some InStyles have done features on how to turn one basic piece into different looks. You can probably find back copies at the library.

A good haircut also helps in looking older. I'm baby-faced myself and rely on a standard classic style haircut (currently a bob) to look a little older. A ponytail sets my age back at least 5 years.

Regarding work appropriateness - I'd be a little careful in my clothing selection since fashionable clothing can show a bit more skin that 40-50 year old women might approve of. Classic, tasteful, and a bit of fun would be the "theme" I'd be shopping for.

Also would think that machine washable clothing might be easier and cheaper to take care of, so you can wash it on a night you're home instead of having to take it to the cleaner's and wait for it to come back. If you're not into anti-wrinkle synthetics, hanging slightly damp clothing to air-dry can also help.

Hope this helps somewhat. You're definitely looking in the right direction. Easiest is to go into a few stores and tell them you're looking for business clothing. Many sales associates can pull together outfits for you and you just have to decide which pieces you like.
freecia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 10, 7:30 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 546
One last piece of advice - avoid clothing that makes you look like you're playing dress up in your mom's clothes.

I sometimes have to remind me of this when I shop at Ann Taylor and other shops that target the 35/40+ set. Good to look work appropriate. Bad to look like I need to cover up underarm pudge, a non-existing waist, gravity bound "ladies", and cankles that some wonderful pieces meant for the more mature set are designed to do.

Last edited by freecia; Apr 25, 10 at 7:39 pm..
freecia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 10, 7:52 pm   #5
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: NYC
Programs: United 1K, HHonors Gold, MR Gold
Posts: 1,595
Ann Taylor has a nice suit available these days in tropical stretch wool: it comes in black and in "ground pepper" (sort of a taupe, which I bought). I buy online (because I can get points by accessing the AT website through Marriott's online shopping portal and because AT only offers lined wool pants online). Wool wrinkles less than a lot of other fabrics, which is why tropical wool with a bit of stretch is a fixture in my work and travel wardrobe.

A couple of things to avoid if you want to look professional and not like a kid:

1) Flip flops - either at the office or even en route to the office.
2) Visible spaghetti straps (ok to wear a camisole under a cardigan or jacket)
3) Visible underwear
4) Skirts that are shorter than the tops of your knees
5) Super-high heels (e.g., 4" or higher), no matter how expensive they are, tend to make younger women look more decorative and less professional - like they're on their way out for drinks. You can get away with it once you turn 35.
6) If you wear open toe shoes (eg sandals) in summer, make sure you have a pedicure and that your toenail polish is understated - no bright red, purple or blue.

I find Thomas Pink shirts are great for business casual. As long as they're ironed, they make you look very pulled together even without a jacket.

I like Express's Editor pants for travel days (and for days in the office).

Also, if you travel with co-workers or clients, sort out your luggage, carry-on and travel clothes so that you look pulled together, professional (without trying too hard), and can move quickly. Watch "Up in the Air" again and compare Ryan Bingham to Natalie Keener. You don't want to be the person with the giant pink suitcase and neck pillow who has to take off four pieces of jewellery in order to avoid setting off the scanner. Get a light, easy-to-move carry-on suitcase, a laptop bag or backpack that doesn't break your back or shoulders, an easy-to-use flight wallet for cards and boarding passes, and a comfortable but professional travel wardrobe.

If I were putting together a capsule wardrobe for you, I'd suggest the following:

- 2 suits (probably pantsuits)
- 2 pairs of trousers (not chino-type fabric) - something like the Editor pant I mentioned earlier
- 1 pair of somewhat more casual trousers for casual events - chinos, including capris
- 3 shirts that are polished enough to wear on their own without a jacket (e.g., the Thomas Pink shirts I mentioned earlier)
- 2 sleeveless shell tops for layering under jackets
- 2 cardigan sweaters (one black or navy, and something more interesting) for layering over the shell tops or shirts
- A good raincoat that can layer over your suit but isn't too masculine. It can be a bright colour but it should work with the colours of your suits. I have a great one from Rainforest (ruched, packable travel coat)

Last edited by Kate_Canuck; Apr 30, 10 at 6:01 pm..
Kate_Canuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 27, 10, 9:54 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Seattle
Programs: Priority Club Platinum, Cunard Diamond
Posts: 202
Find a good tailor. I have trouble finding suits that fit through the shoulders that don't overwhelm the rest of me, thus making it look like I'm wearing my mother's clothes. For $20, my tailor takes in the body of the jacket, so it looks like I'm wearing my own clothes. My Ann Taylor suits actually look age appropriate after a touch of alteration.

T
tatia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 28, 10, 12:12 am   #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: San Francisco
Programs: DL Silver, WN A-List+, SPG Platinum
Posts: 12
Thanks for all your replies! You have all been very helpful

Quote:
Originally Posted by kipper View Post
If you're looking for inexpensive, check oldnavy.com for a few.
I didn't realize ON has good work pieces. I'll definitely look into, especially since I am on a budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freecia View Post
Many sales associates can pull together outfits for you and you just have to decide which pieces you like.
I heard that Nordstrom has personal stylists available at no cost. Has anyone tried this service? Are you pressured to buy the outfits they suggest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by freecia View Post
One last piece of advice - avoid clothing that makes you look like you're playing dress up in your mom's clothes.

I sometimes have to remind me of this when I shop at Ann Taylor and other shops that target the 35/40+ set. Good to look work appropriate. Bad to look like I need to cover up underarm pudge, a non-existing waist, gravity bound "ladies", and cankles that some wonderful pieces meant for the more mature set are designed to do.
Haha! That's what I was trying to express when I said I wanted to maintain a youthful look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate_Canuck View Post
If I were putting together a capsule wardrobe for you, I'd suggest the following:

- 2 suits (probably pantsuits)
- 2 pairs of trousers (not chino-type fabric) - something like the Editor pant I mentioned earlier
- 1 pair of somewhat more casual trousers for casual events - chinos, including capris
- 3 shirts that are polished enough to wear on their own without a jacket (e.g., the Thomas Pink shirts I mentioned earlier)
- 2 sleeveless shell tops for layering under jackets
- 2 cardigan sweaters (one black or navy, and something more interesting) for layering over the shell tops or shirts
- A good raincoat that can layer over your suit but isn't too masculine. It can be a bright colour but it should work with the colours of your suits. I have a great one from Rainforest (ruched, packable travel coat)
This is a great list!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tatia View Post
For $20, my tailor takes in the body of the jacket, so it looks like I'm wearing my own clothes. My Ann Taylor suits actually look age appropriate after a touch of alteration.
A good reminder to invest in a relationship with a good tailor!


Again, thanks so much for all the advice. Off to Ann Taylor, Express, Banana Republic, Limited, J Crew, Macy's, H&M, and Old Navy!! phew!
StellaStar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 28, 10, 7:31 am   #8
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: west of DFW airport
Programs: AA LT Gold, 1.7 MM flying my way to LT PLAT
Posts: 10,915
I really don't mean for this to sound like a lecture, but I interview a lot of your women. The one thing that is a constant irritating to me is their grammar.

Your clothes can be perfect but if your spelling is from text messages and your sentences start with 'Ya, like....' you've already irritated me.

I am far less sensitive to shoe issues although I just don't get along with the idea of bare legs under skirts with suit jackets.

Maybe it is my location in Texas, but having a college degree doesn't equal making a good impression with vocabulary and grammar.

Also think about how you sound on the telephone, especially if you are driving or walking outside. I telephoned a young woman yesterday to ask business questions and she said "Nope, I'm not busy. I just got ME a cup of coffee and I can chat."

When I send you out in a leadership situation, I want you to sound as good as you look.

I completely understand that my 'elderly' thinking about attire is more than likely out of date, but I do try to consider someone's age when looking at them.

I know that you would never think of wearing the clingy jersey dress that a young sales woman wore when she visited us. Some of the men were thrilled and enjoyed her visit, but she was showing more than I really wanted to know about her. She sold nothing.

Also if you have any tatoos, please cover them up. They may be trendy with young women, but they don't spell out BUSINESS to many of us older folks.

Some clothing issues are regional. Although many women wear pants suits in the good old South, a really nice skirt goes a long way toward making a good impression. If you have the figure for it, a really nice pencil skirt is often a real winner.
oldpenny16 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 10, 10:36 am   #9
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Programs: AA Lifetime Plat
Posts: 6,310
Quote:
Originally Posted by StellaStar View Post
I heard that Nordstrom has personal stylists available at no cost. Has anyone tried this service? Are you pressured to buy the outfits they suggest?
I've used it and was very pleased. I did not feel pressured, but then again, it's very hard to pressure me to do something that I don't want to do. Just go in with a budget, be very clear about that and the style/need of clothing that you are looking for.
__________________
Life is just one damned thing after another - Frank Ward O'Malley
Redhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 10, 12:45 pm   #10
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: west of DFW airport
Programs: AA LT Gold, 1.7 MM flying my way to LT PLAT
Posts: 10,915
I have to drive over to Dallas to get to a Nordstrom's. Worth the trip, but I don't do it often.

To get an idea what they have, look online.

They carry a line of (expensive) washable knits that do look wonderful on some women and will dry overnight in a hotel room after you wash them in the sink. Can't think of that brand's name. Please see this helpful link from FT of a long while ago.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/archive/t-282393.html
oldpenny16 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 30, 10, 9:58 am   #11
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: LON
Programs: UA, AA, Hyatt
Posts: 98
If you're a somewhat standard size, you can find great deals on suits at places like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack...

I'm a bit older than you, and for the dressy part of my job (maybe half?), I have 3 suits I like, plus a few blazers. Blazer plus black trousers or plain pencil skirt plays dressy but not looking like I'm going to a job interview. My recent blazers have come from LL Bean, believe it or not!
lettezilla is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:08 pm.




SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.