From Combat Boots to Heels

by Donna Balderston
(El Paso Texas)

Hello, I am Donna 54 and about to leave the military. Now leaving combat boots and moving onto heels. I am wanting to change my wardrobe from casual to business. I believe I can cross some of the pieces. I am trying to figure out how.

Hi Donna --
Thank you for your service to our country and for the sacrifices made by you and your family.

I don't know what is in your military wardrobe, so it is hard for me what you can adapt to business.

What kind of business wardrobe you need depends on the business where you will work.

For example, many sales oriented business in a warm climate such as Florida or Texas now lean toward business casual. Men may wear button-down woven shirts without ties; women similarly wear slacks and tops, and blazers may be not much in evidence.

On the other hand, if we go to high-end law and investment offices, we are likely to see men in suits and women as well in suits or modest dresses.

Banks seem to be everywhere. Some have uniforms of twill slacks and pull-over knit shirts with a logo. Others still require business suits. One bank has sent home females for wearing legging type slacks.

This brings me to several styles that are likely to have people talking behind your back -- and not in a good way.

Anything that is too low cut, too tight, or too short should be saved for clubs and parties.

Super-high heels are glamorous these days; I have one student who belongs to a shoe of the month club. These again are more of a club look. Keep heels to no more than 2.5 inches and a somewhat chunkier, rather than spike, heel.

Last, leggings type pants are not for business wear.

In terms of building a wardrobe, invest in neutral colors, especially a basic suit with both slacks and skirt if you can get it. Add color with tops and accessories.

Think of business attire as a different kind of uniform you must wear, rather than as an expression of your fashion creativity.

I wish you all the best as you transition into civvies.

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