Nikki’s Inbox: So You Want to Look Professional

I just stumbled upon your blog, and have fallen in love with your “Ask Nikki” series. My everyday style is very colorful, and I like fun patterns and details. I’m a bit curvy, and have an average height (164 cm).

I’m trying to get a job at the moment (something more serious than helping out at the local supermarket), and have colored my hair a neutral color, instead of my usual every color of the rainbow.

My problem is how to look professional, but still colorful. I really need to keep my rainbow palette in my closet, especially with the new hair color.

Thank you in advance. I know you will help me out. <3

Hélen, 18/Norway


Thank you for the kind words, Hélen, and I applaud your efforts towards advancing your job prospects. It’s not easy right now, I know, so small steps mean a lot!

I do wish you gave more details about yourself. Like what is your hair’s “neutral color” now? Black is neutral for me, but so is white. 😛 Do you like accessories? What are the dominant colors in your rainbow wardrobe? Do you prefer dresses to pants? Comfort over style? You like details? So do I so please be more specific next time!

Start with the basics

Job interview essentials start with a smart blazer, button-down shirt or a dressy blouse, flat-front trousers or pencil skirt and heels. While many companies these days adopt a more casual dress code for work, the job interview still requires that you look professional, smart and polished. Some companies are conservative while some are more relaxed when it comes to style and fashion.

Aision : Mija : Aision : Caroe

If you’re unsure and have no idea about the company culture and dress code, follow this simple rule: Neutrals (black/gray/beige/white) + Color. A gray pantsuit or skirt suit will look good with pastels such as baby pink, sky blue, mint green or pale yellow. Black paired with primary colors like red and basic yellow and blue will look very vibrant so tone it down with small patterns. You can also go for a three-color palette instead of just the usual two. A pale chambray blazer with gray or black trousers plus your choice of a blouse or shirt showcases your youthfulness and spunk!

LOLOten : X:Y : migunstyle : Daybreak

Update your pieces

I’m always enthusiastic about adding color to one’s wardrobe but if you have the same style of clothing in your closet in 50 shades of red, purple and orange, then it might not be as “colorful” as you think. This is where your details and patterns matter, Hélen. These days, blouses and shirts are no longer boring and too mature-looking. Fluted and ruffled sleeves are among the most popular pieces, transforming a simple shirt into a very poetic piece.

There’s also the quirky collared blouse, usually in stripes, and is designed to look like you’re wearing your shirt sideways: the “button placket” is on the shoulders and upper arm, and the collar is sideways. Self-tie cuffs on the sleeves create little bows that elegantly contrast the stripes. On YesStyle alone, we’ve also got tops with colorful buttons and lace-trimmed button plackets, cats “peeping” from pockets (save this for Casual Fridays, when you’re actually employed) and embroidered collars to match.

MATO : mimi & didi : MayFair

Mushi : Lina Cota : MOFFI

Tiny things, big impact

If you like accessories, Hélen, this is your chance to show off your fun and creative side without compromising your “professional” image. Earrings, hair accessories, necklaces, bracelets and watches can speak your style language easily.

If you’re wearing your hair in an up ‘do, a bun or a ponytail, then that neutral hair color can still be spiced up with cute hair pins and barrettes. It can be anything from an elegant bow to a quirky animal-shaped hair pin, but with rhinestones for extra dazzle.

Some notable earrings worth looking into are those with unique designs such as origami cranes, tiny leaf studs, or geometric shapes. A leather and metal bangle adds an industrial finish to your polished look.

kitsch island : Miss21 Korea : soo n soo

chuu : iswas : Romguest

This is only the first step of many, darling, to master a professional look that suits your personal style without compromising your talents and skill set. There will be hits and misses, there will be triumphs and failures, and you won’t always get it right the first time or even the second and third. I didn’t but I can tell you that you will get there and you will get it. Lots of luck, my dear!

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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