Think you need to go to the pages of Elle, Marie Claire or Esquire to see the latest fashion trends? Au contraire! You could see it right here at YLS in our “Dress For Success… For Less. Part 2” workshop held on November 2nd.
Given the popularity of this workshop last year , we had to bring back fashion stylist Shanelle Rein-Olowokere to guide us through the ins and outs of how to look good without breaking the bank. Shanelle is simply loaded with practical and cost efficient tips on how to maximize your fashion budget. Most importantly, she also understands what work in a conservative (i.e. looks law firm ) environment vs a less format (aka public service) work culture and she encouraged audience members to take time to study and understand the appropriate dress code for their workplace.
For that conservative work setting, Shanelle recommends that the essentials you should have in your closet include 2-3 suits, 8-10 shirts or blouses, 2-3 pairs of nice trousers, 2-3 blazers, 2-3 loafers/oxford shoes for women or heels for women and 2-3 nice knits including cardigans and pullovers in a solid colors. For a more casual work environment, Shanelle recommends that the basics include at least one suit (in navy or black), 8-10 shirts or blouses, 4-5 pairs of nice trousers or skirts, 2 pairs of tailored jeans (dark wash), 2-3 blazer and an equivalent 3-4 nice knits.
So how do you afford these basics? Shanelle’ s shopping strategy focused on:
— Establishing and sticking to a defined shopping budget
—-Don’t start shopping until you have a defined list of what you need. That list will keep you from buying random items and impulse buys and will also track what was bought and what you still need.
— Go online and see what stores are offering there first. It’s a more productive way to browse than the hassle of going to an actual store. And when you actually go to into the store , it will make more efficient use of your time when you can go in and try on exactly what you want quickly.
— Shop smart and above all wait until something goes on sale or when a store is offering some sort of promotion. Never pay full price. And once you have enough pieces for a set “starter” wardrobe you can then start shopping off season for even greater savings.
And what would Fashion Week at YLS be without actual models on the runway? YLS’sown Jacqueline Van DeVelde ’17, Paul Rink’ 18 and Hyun-Soo Lim’ 18 volunteered to show off some of the newest fashion trends from Banana Republic . Shanelle specifically chose the model’s “looks” to demonstrate examples for varied workplace settings. First, Paul and Hyun-Soo modeled pieces appropriate to a casual work setting based on pairing jeans, knits and camel jackets. Then Paul (doing double duty) and Jacqueline each modeled stylish suits appropriate to a conservative work setting.
The session ended with a great Q&A where Shanelle fielded questions on everything from where to find a good tailor (answer test one with a small job first) to what to wear if you work in an office in the South (don’t worry it will be air conditioned- bring a cardigan!) to whether high heels are” required” in a conservative workplace (dressy flat shoes are perfectly appropriate and comfortable!).
Above all throughout the workshop, Shanelle reinforced the important statement your work clothes can make in letting your employer know that you take yourself and your work seriously. And the reality that you can achieve that look in a very cost effective way.
Until next year’s Fashion Week- see you all on the runway!