7 Style Mistakes Ruining Your Professional Look

woman professionally dressed

Are you making any of these style mistakes? 

Quite honestly, even the most stylish women I know (including me) have probably made a style faux pas on occasion. 

But hey! Read on to see if you’ve made any of them and find out what to do instead (um, the opposite…you probably knew that already…you didn’t get this far in life on style alone!) 

One more thing…(said the queen of prefacing)  I realize the title of this blog post is a little bit negative.

I’m usually sunshine and rainbows, but style mistakes…they’re intriguing, almost as fun as a quiz! 

Be sure to read to the very end for a couple of style mistakes that might really surprise you. 

Ready? Read on to see if you’re making any of these blunders. Master the tips, and your professional image will shine! 🌟

7 Style Mistakes Ruining Your Professional Look

1. Dressing WAY TOO CASUAL

I see more people than ever who seem to think the dress code is “come as you are.” They’re not giving any thought to who they’re meeting with and what might be the most appropriate and effective thing to wear. 

As an example, I went to a women’s networking event last week. There were both entrepreneurs and executives there. I noticed a few women who showed up in t-shirts and jeans, as though they’d just come from running errands. 

Not to sound judgmental, but I just didn’t get it. 

Am I suggesting a full suit every day? No way! But I encourage you to plan what you’re going to wear each day…you never know what opportunities lie ahead! 

2. Wearing too much black. 

 This second style mistake is mostly specific to zoom.

 First off, black just isn’t a flattering color for most people. 

Secondly, there’s no definition. you can end up looking very “blobby” on screen especially if you’re wearing a knit top or sweater. 

Have you ever tried to take a picture of something black? It’s so hard to capture the details…unless you’re a professional photographer.

Also, black doesn’t hold our attention very well, and with so many distractions already when we’re on Zoom or a stage, we really want to wear something that will command attention. 

Light and bright colors will illuminate your face even without a ring light! 

3. Wearing clothes that don’t fit well. 

Clothes that are either too big and baggy or too small and tight can be distracting and send out a non-verbal message that perhaps: 

  • you’re not savvy, competent or credible 
  • you don’t pay attention to details
  • you’re hiding

Clothes should skim your body, for them most professional look.

Be sure to grab my Shop Your Shape Guide to find all the stores with clothes that will fit you no matter what your size or shape!

4. Your clothes aren’t crisp, a.k.a. skipping the iron, steamer, etc.

I hear this from employers all the time! 

I know…ironing sucks! But there are other solutions: 

  • Steamers* 
  • Dryell
  • Dry cleaning 
  • Wrinkle release sprays

I 💜💜💜 my Jiffy Steamer!!! (I’ve had it since 2004 and it’s going strong. J-2000 is the best model.)

Click here to purchase. Buy from the Pink Line, and 10% of the retail purchase is donated to breast cancer research.

5. Your shoes are scuffed or worn

Your entire look can be flawless, but if your shoes are less than it ruins the whole effect. 

I know it’s hard to part with a pair of shoes you love that start to wear out. 

I’m guilty…

I had a pair of perfect-for-me black low heeled wedge sandals that were great with both casual outfits and dresses and I could wear them for hours on end! 

I have been searching for a replacement and thought I could wear my beloved pair until I found them, but finally I had to get real with myself. They were looking bad!

Like the song says…”let it go.” 

If all your shoes need is a polish, find a good cobbler who will give you a really quick turn around. (And there’s always DIY!) 

6. Skipping accessories

Accessorizing is the difference between rolling out of bed and putting clothes on versus looking polished and professional. 

Accessories pull your outfits together and create that professional polish we all crave. 

Accessories make us look finished, like we take care of all the details. 

Forgetting to wear jewelry and other accessories can send out the non-verbal message that you can’t be bothered. Ouch! 

You know that’s not the case, but your co-workers, boss and clients don’t, so just nip it in the bud and finish every outfit with professional accessories. 

7. Wearing clothes that are out of date

If your clothing, hair or make-up are out of date, others will subconsciously assume your skills are out of date. This can be a huge detriment to getting hired or advancing within your firm. 

I’m not suggesting you turn into a total fashionista, buying a whole new wardrobe every season. Modern classics with a twist will help you be in style for a long time.  

Well, how did you score? Have you made any of these style mistakes?

I’m assuming you did pretty well since you read my blog. 

I encourage you to scour my posts for any questions you might have…there is a TON of content here! 

Use the search bar over on the right, and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I’m happy to answer and your question just might turn into a blog post! 

Before You Go…

Before you go..Download The Ultimate #SHOPYOURSHAPE Guide

At Last, a complete resource with all the stores with sizes and proportions to fit your unique shape!

No matter what your body type, in this guide, you'll find more shops and sites than you ever knew existed... that cater to just your size, height and shape!

2 comments on “7 Style Mistakes Ruining Your Professional Look

  1. Love these guidelines. About #7? how does one tell if your clothes, hair or makeup are out of date… I am not usually trendy but want to be up to date for my age and circumstances…
    Love to know what you think.

  2. Hi Judy! Oh my gosh! That is such a great question. I’m totally going to write a blog post about this…because I think it can be hard to know…

    In general, keeping up to date is about making some changes to your appearance from time to time, possibly even taking a bit of a risk. For example, when was the last time you changed your hairstyle? If you can’t remember, maybe it’s time for a bit of an update.

    If you’re questioning whether a piece of clothing is still current…is it something you’ve seen in a store in the last 5 years? For example, I met a woman at a networking event recently who had on a 3 button, micro-fiber navy blazer she told me she’d bought at Casual Corner.

    It looked dated–you won’t find 3 button jackets in any stores, fabrics are more natural looking and Casual Corner has been gone a LONG time.

    I hope this helps! Watch for the blog post.

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