For a long time, the consensus was that millennials dressed too casually in the workplace. However, as the years have progressed, the public opinion has shifted away from the notion that millennials dress incorrectly for work and more towards the idea that millennials are setting the trends. It’s the rest of us, then, who are dressing too formally in an ever-changing professional world.
However, this new idea of “business professional” can be difficult for people who are accustomed to old standards of professional dress to grasp. Here are eight tips on how you can dress business professional to fit into a millennial world.
1. Ditch The Suits (For Most Industries)
Sure, stockbrokers and attorneys are always going to be required to don a suit when they go into the office. However, many business people and other young professionals are ditching suits in favor of the sort of attire that used to be reserved for weekend meetings, such as button-down tops and a pair of smart but comfortable slacks.
2. Get Over Your Body Modification Hangups
In the old days, you couldn’t find many jobs besides barista if you had visible tattoos or facial piercings. However, instead of changing for the work world, millennials have insisted that the work world changes its standards for them. No, you don’t have to go out and get a neck tattoo or a nose ring. However, if you have any hangups about your colleagues having such adornments, it’s probably best to get rid of them.
3. Play With Color
Modern young professionals are bored with the basic black, navy and beige color scheme that used to be standard for professional attire. Today’s business attire features bold colors and prints. Although these garments might still be tailored and conservative, they have the fun hues and patterns that were historically reserved for casual wear.
4. Express Yourself
The basic principle of professional clothing used to be that everyone out to be fairly uniform in appearance. After all, excessive individuality could be a distraction from the company’s unified goals. However, millennials believe that individuality and personal branding is a crucial aspect of professional life. For this reason, many millennials dress themselves for work in a way that helps them to build their personal brand.
5. Don’t Show Too Much Skin
Yes, the rules about color and personal expression are changing when it comes to professional dress. However, don’t think that means you can wear a crop top and barely-there shorts to work on Monday. While millennials are playing with fabrics, colors and rules about tattoos, they’re still playing by the rules that shirts shouldn’t be excessively low-cut and that tank-tops are best reserved for the weekend.
6. Embrace Comfortable Footwear
Modern millennials just plain don’t like being uncomfortable. This is a generation that prides themselves on valuing their own individual comfort. For this reason, comfortable footwear is becoming more and more common in office settings. You shouldn’t wear your dirtiest old sneakers to work tomorrow, but you can consider ditching those painful high-heels in favor of something that’s a tad comfier.
7. Despite The More Relaxed Rules, Dress To Impress
To some, it might seem like the new millennial-influenced workplace is a sea of slobs masquerading as professionals, dressed as if they were going to the thrift store instead of to the office. However, this is simply not the case. Remember, the rules about what’s acceptable are changing, but good grooming and great presentation never goes out of style. Even if your work attire is more casual than it would have been 20 years ago, it should still be cleaned, ironed and pressed.
8. Go With The Flow
Trends in professional dress can ebb and flow. Although the trend has been towards more casual dress at work, things could shift in a different direction in the not-so-distant future. When it comes to professional dress, it’s important to go with the flow.
The new rules of workplace attire might not be what you’re used to if you’re a bit older than the current crop of millennials entering the workforce. However, this shift towards a more relaxed definition of what “business casual” means isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s best to embrace these shifts in modern fashion.