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Question:

What are some good clothing options to wear to client meetings without suppressing my personal style? I don’t want to wear slacks, they hired us cause we’re the cool creatives, but I also don’t want to look underdressed to them. HELP!

Robyn Says:

Dear Pantless in Seattle:

First of all, let’s acknowledge I am no fashionista. Once, I had to attend a fancy client event poolside in Palm Springs. I should have prepared to look something like this:

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The poolside look I should have gone for…

Instead, I brought along my Chacos and an old swimsuit and appeared to be better prepared for a white water rafting trip. I was the “Granola Girl of the desert”. Let me give you a visual of these infamous sandals…

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What I wore instead… Not my feet. But you get it right?!

Let’s just say that I was made fun of and it became glaringly obvious that I had not properly prepared for this Kardashian chic desert environment coming from the land of rain and neutrals in Portland, OR. It’s still a joke between my old client and I to this day. But… let’s talk about you. Not me.

My Advice:

Do you. Do you. Do you.

Follow your intuition about what is appropriate. In fact, I think you’re overthinking this entire situation. If you don’t feel like yourself in a typical “biz casual” Ann Taylor Loft cardigan and pencil skirt – you won’t do your best work and you’re gonna give off an uncomfortable vibe to your clients and your team. We work in a creative industry where you get a little room to be yourself.

But, you know what, you asked for specifics so I asked my dear friend Jaclyn Stiller about this because she’s the best dressed most prepared person I know. She’s a chameleon when it comes to adapting to her environments seamlessly but also retaining her personality and spirit through her clothing.

Here’s what she told me:

  • Wear Black. It’s always in style and always dresses you up.
  • If you’re into pencil skirts you can always dress them down with a jean jacket. This is more my style and I feel less like I’m going to an interview than pairing with just a blouse.
  • Accessories are your friend. Sometimes a hat with a pop of color or print can instantly elevate an outfit. Same goes for a simple outfit with a flashy pair of earrings or a statement necklace. If it is cold out, try a nice scarf.
  • See someone wearing something you like, ask them where they got it. We’re in this together!

Here are Jaclyn’s current staples for client meetings:

  • Jean jacket – Target
  • Schoolboy blazer – J.Crew Factory
  • Black tunic sweater (cashmere blend) – Nordstrom (I have been informed she now lives in this!)
  • Statement earrings (in my signature color, coral) – Bauble Bar
  • Bold lip – Sephora – Laura Mercier in Amour (literally looks good on anyone!)

I’ll leave you with Jaclyn’s final words of wisdom:

Remember, if you look good, you feel good.
Robyn Birkedal

Robyn Birkedal

I’m Robyn, a Portland, OR based digital project manager. I’ve been in the industry for the past 10 years and have produced a wide swath of digital efforts including websites, product UX/UI, digital experiences, social, and even a national broadcast spot. I hate bitmojis and pickled herring. I love memes and charcuterie. Outside of that, I’m a mom and probably the world’s most lazy crossfitter.

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