OPPS #ONSCENE about: How to dress 'professionally' in the arts

If you're anything like me, when it comes to putting yourself out there in the professional world there is an eternal question that haunts you:

How do I dress "professionally?" 

As artists, we never want to compromise our personal expression and quirkiness for the sake of a job. And, in my humble opinion, we shouldn't have to — at least not completely. Though dressing for a job in the arts definitely allows for a lot more individuality and flexibility than, say, a corporate or traditional office job, it's still important to show up looking like your most put-together, polished self (whatever that might mean to you). 

Here's the thing: Ideally, clothing should have absolutely nothing to do with the process of climbing the professional ladder, but we just don't live in that world. What we can do is incorporate pieces of clothing and accessories that make us feel comfortable and essentially "ourselves," alongside more traditional work wear like slacks, skirts, blazers and button-up shirts. And remember the eternal rule: Clothing has no gender! Wearing pieces that others might think are for a gender that doesn't match yours doesn't make you unprofessional. 

Since we're moving toward the deep cold of winter right now, here are a few pieces that are comfy, cozy and polished! The best thing you can do with clothing that feels a little vanilla for your taste is pick pieces that include a bit of a twist on what you might expect from classic work wear. Also, funky bracelets, big earrings and necklaces help an outfit that is a little basic.

 You don’t have to wear a solid color button-up to appear polished. Try incorporating a pattern into your professional look!

You don’t have to wear a solid color button-up to appear polished. Try incorporating a pattern into your professional look!

 Try a blazer with a subtle pattern or some texture if plain black ones bore you!

Try a blazer with a subtle pattern or some texture if plain black ones bore you!

 Dress pants with a funky touch like a chunky belt or stripes up the sides can bring a touch of personality to a normally plain professional garment.

Dress pants with a funky touch like a chunky belt or stripes up the sides can bring a touch of personality to a normally plain professional garment.