Vintage clothing can be an excellent way to express your creativity and individuality — even within the confines of your 9-to-5 job. Goodwill® is and always will be an excellent source to get these items inexpensively, due in part to their entrepreneurial business model of collecting and selling donated goods in its more than 2,800 stores and its auction site, shopgoodwill.com.
To add a little vintage spice to your workplace wardrobe, consider these tips:
Don’t completely adapt your outfit to a certain period. In wearing vintage clothing, there’s a steadfast rule that doubly applies for the workplace: if it could be worn as a Halloween costume, then it should not be worn in real life. Head-to-toe era ensembles have no place in the business world, so save your Audrey Hepburn and Rosie the Riveter outfits for October 31.
Compliment with contemporary accessories. A great way to bring your vintage garment into the 21st century is by accessorizing it with contemporary jewelry, shoes and other items. A vintage blouse or dress can be instantly transformed by the addition of modern accessories like a simple cardigan or stylish jacket.
Stick to one stand-out piece. If vintage is your preferred aesthetic, it’s best to highlight just one piece at a time. You want people’s focus to move directly to your vintage piece, and all other elements of your ensemble should support that. Too many focal points can look outrageous; you don’t want to become a workplace distraction. As far as vintage prints go, keep them mostly monochromatic. Shoulder pads can also be removed from vintage blazers and blouses to give them a softer, more modern appeal.
Choose one pop of color. Offices have adapted varying degrees of business professional and business casual. When a person first starts a position, it is often difficult to discern the type of dress that will be appropriate. While there are still a few existing professions where color or patterns may not be okay, color is usually a safe option in most working environments. With that being said, however, don’t go buck wild with the brights. You’re an employee, not a neon sign, so support your pop of color with some complementary neutrals.
Choose vintage accessories instead. If all of this advice about vintage clothing in the workplace has left your head spinning, then maybe you’re better suited wearing vintage accessories to the office instead. I highly recommend the vintage brooch, which can be added to a conservative blazer or simple cardigan sweater to amp up the style factor and reflect your clothing taste. Vintage necklaces and earrings are also a beautiful way to upgrade your work wardrobe without going overboard.
Patterned vintage scarves are a classic and sophisticated accessory that can be easily added to a suit, and don’t feel over the top or costume-y. Shoe clips, often found at estate sales, vintage shops, or thrift stores, can be added to contemporary black pumps to make them more unique and versatile. Finally, a long vintage dress coat is elegant and appropriate for your comings and goings to and from the office, and Goodwill stores are a great resource in finding these inexpensive wardrobe toppers.
When wearing vintage in the office; a little bit can go a long way. Competent personal style and a unique flair can make you stand out in a good light, helping people to remember you, or serving as a conversation starter if you work face-to-face in sales or see business clients on the regular.