Nikki’s Inbox: Your First Job – And You’re On The Frontline



First of all, your blog has been a lifesaver, style-wise. I’m a really short person (155 cm tall) and curvy, and I’m starting my new job in March!

It’s a job in a lawyer’s office, where I will be the one greeting visitors and clients, finding the right lawyer or advisor for the client, set the calendars, business meetings, lunch meetings, organizing trips, etc. And this is the first serious full-time job I’ve had and I’m really excited about it!

But my wardrobe needs an upgrade. I’m used to wearing jeans and bomber jackets, but this will probably not be appropriate for this job since I need to stay and look professional.

Lily, 30/Norway

First, big congratulations for getting that job! I’m glad that you want to make a great impression at your new workplace and happy that you find my advice helpful. As a frontliner, you’re the first person that clients encounter and therefore, you set the tone for their experience at the firm, and everything that goes from there. It sounds very daunting but I have every confidence in you, darling!

Be Pro-Active and Observant

Since you have enough time before you officially start your job, now is a good time to email the HR department of your new workplace about their dress code. Chances are, there will be a policy in place. Ask what are absolutely non-negotiables, e.g., skirts vs. trousers, heels and heel heights, no open-toe shoes or slingbacks, flashy jewelry, etc. It’s better to ask than assume incorrectly and embarrass yourself later.

Another thing you can also do is to quietly observe how the rest of the support staff is dressed. What colors they usually wear, note the skirt lengths and trousers, if anyone wears flats and jewelry, etc. These visual cues are helpful, and being observant will also help you in your role as a frontliner.

The Essentials

Your office wardrobe essentials can start with A-line and pencil skirts with a slightly flared hem, which may suit your petite frame and body shape especially if you’re hip-heavy. I recommend flat-front and boot-cut styles since they look better on curvy people like you and me.

Seoul Fashion : chuu : Sentubila

Princess Min : Eleganza : UPTOWNHOLIC

Have at least 2 skirts and 2 pairs of trousers in your wardrobe, which will guarantee a backup in case of any fashion emergencies. Opt for neutral colors like grays, blacks and navy blues, in varying shades from light to dark. I know it sounds utterly conservative/boring but our goal here is to get you started on the right foot!

Structural Style

One thing I always observe in workplaces that have dress codes is the blazers women there wear. Not all blazers are made equal so for you, Lily, choose a two- or three-button version with a slightly tailored waist so it looks flattering. Try it on with a variety of tops, skirts, jeans and trousers so you’ll see how it looks with everything. You may not have to wear your jacket in the office at all times but it can certainly make you look very professional.

Your other outerwear alternatives (most offices are very chilly) are classic button-down cardigans or open-front shawl collar ones. They’re a little more casual than blazers but are generally considered acceptable in most workplaces. Again, don’t hesitate to ask your HR if those are allowed.

Skyheart : Illusione : Aegean

anzoveve : Pumpernickel

Stay on Top

When it comes to tops, blouses and shirts, going for smart and classy will work in your favor. Sleeveless blouses might be allowed but for the sake of propriety, let’s avoid those and stick to short sleeves and long sleeves for now. Just remember that you’ll have to tuck your tops inside the waistband of your bottoms so make sure the ones you buy are at least long enough to do so.

Since your blazer and bottoms are in conservative colors, you can go for a nice contrast with your top. Pastels are great so think pale pink, baby blue, lilac, mint green, off-white and more. If the material is thin or the color looks sheer, do wear a camisole. The nice thing about having dark jackets and matching pants/skirts is that you can use these to subdue brighter colors like crimson, royal blue or deep purple, as well as patterns. Look for nice visual details to accentuate your tops like lace trim, a lovely bow at the neckline, pintucks, playful textures or pattern orientation. They help keep your outfit looking fresh and new!

CLICK : Sentubila : OrangeBear : LOLOten

For a Fine Finish

Lastly, don’t forget your shoes and accessories. If you’re not used to wearing heels, try kitten heels or low wedges. Soon enough, you’ll be able to figure out a level of comfort that works for you. If you’re restricted to black shoes, that’s perfectly fine. You can play with textures to make your office outfit less boring. Go for a toe-cap style, shiny patent leather or with decorations like buckles, broguing, grommets or bows. An alternative is to wear flat or slightly heeled oxfords, menswear-style, which can work with a skirt suit or a pantsuit.

Wello : DABAGIRL :

kitsch island : NANING9 : InShop Watches

When it comes to accessories, start out simple like stud earrings, a nice watch and a luxurious-looking scarf. You certainly don’t want to wear anything that might be too distracting to yourself or to others. Keep it professional, cool and smart — which can be your new mantra! The best of luck to you, Lily.

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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