Summer has long been my favorite season. Not only are the days blessed with long awaited sunshine, but our business wardrobes are given the freedom to embody a more casual Summer-time vibe. Out with the dark, traditional suits and in with the casual clothes becomes our summertime battle cry! However, as we become more and more acquainted with our warm-weather lifestyles, our wardrobes begin to suffer. Remember, just because it is summer does not mean that every day is casual Friday, we must maintain a certain level of “business” in our business attire. One way to manage this fashion balancing act is to introduce jeans to our work attire. Jeans are a great segway from suit to summer because they provide the comfort of summer wear while maintaining a work-ready attitude…if worn correctly. The following is a guide to successfully selecting, pairing, and caring for your work jeans in order to avoid catching condescending glares from the boss.
Selecting the perfect pair of jeans
Selecting the right pair of jeans for work can make all the difference in how they will be received. Not just any pair of jeans will do, especially if they are old or worn jeans. Your jeans must reflect a business mindset in order to show your coworkers and boss that you are here to work. Follow these three simple rules and you will find yourself the perfect pair of work jeans.
Rule #1: Don’t skim on price – Buy upscale jeans to show that you are making special effort to look professional (and that you don’t wear these jeans for Sunday leisure days).
Rule #2: Go with a dark pair – Select a dark pair of jeans that don’t bring attention to themselves. Not only do they look professional, but darker jeans will not stick out as much as your torn acid-washed ones will.
Rule #3: Make sure they fit – This may seem obvious but there is more to “make sure they fit” than you may think. Buy slim fitting jeans that have a high waist. Baggy jeans look juvenile and the last thing people want to see is your underwear every time you bend over. Plus, slim fitting jeans help make you look slimmer which will only boost your confidence in the office.
What to pair with your jeans:
One of the most important rules to selecting an outfit to pair with your jeans is to draw attention away from your jeans. You don’t want everyone to focus on your jeans since they may come off as too casual to some if worn incorrectly. The right items to pair with your jeans will be based on your office environment. Some offices will simply not allow jeans period; for those that do, the degree of casualness that you portray in your outfit must reflect the general office norm. If you are in a laid back environment, pair your jeans with a flannel shirt. This will maintain a button-up feel without the dress shirt look of more traditional office wear. Now don’t go through your 90’s grunge collection and find the most frayed flannel you have, make sure the shirt is clean and fresh to show that you are still here to work. For more traditional work environments, pair your jeans with a button up dress shirt and a sweater. Again, the key here is bringing a business mindset to a casual look. You may also choose to wear a blazer over a shirt or sweater, a classic look that will fit smoothly into your work environment. For shoes, make sure to wear something that looks professional. No tennis shoes and for the love of all that is holy, no sandals. Wear business casual dress shoes and you’ll be golden.
One final note: Be sure to take extra care of your work jeans since they will need to stay clean and fresh for each day of work. Wash them often to avoid stains and stink, and make sure to flip them inside out when washing to avoid color loss. Also, don’t wear these jeans for any occasion that might get them permanently stained, like gardening or wine tasting. Remember that these are your work jeans and should be treated with the same amount of respect as your other work clothes.