Personal Style + Success in The Workplace

Written by Arianne Thigpen

“Dress for success.”

“Fake it ‘til you make it.”

Sayings like these embody my ethos of using personal style as a tool for emotional and mental well being. For the majority of my life, I’ve used clothes as a way to improve my mood, boost my confidence, and to project levels of success that I’ve hoped to attain. 

I would describe my personal style is kinda preppy, kinda bougie, with a dash of boho. Think of a Madewell + Eloquii love child. I can usually be found in dresses or skirts for most of the year, though I do love wearing jeans, fun sweaters, and boots in our brief Texas combination fall/winter/spring. I love wearing color and patterns and rarely wear black. I firmly believe red lipstick can make or break both an outfit and a good mood.

My style has definitely evolved over time, though some things have stayed the same. As many teens do, I tried as many trends as I could (or as many that came in my size). However, I’ve always had a classic element to my style that made me feel grounded in a way. I even managed to maintained this throughout the dreaded early-2000s and those impossibly low waistlines. 

Growing up, first-day-of-school outfits were always meticulously planned days, if not weeks, in advance. Even though I may have been a nervous wreck on the inside, being able to present a confident image often helped to give me a sense of calm that, in turn, calmed my nerves. (Have I just created the Emotional Circle of Style?)

This carried on into adulthood once I began interviewing for jobs. Let me tell you, an ill-fitting blazer or uncooperative hair was, on occasion, the straw that broke the confidence camel’s back and may have led to a less-than-stellar interview. 

In my various workplaces, there have been all levels of dress codes, from business casual, to just-make-sure-you’re-clothed. In the latter situation, however, I always dressed, well, “nice.” Although some chose to dress strictly for comfort and convenience, to me, looking put together is comfort. Although image isn’t everything, I do find comfort in being able to choose the image I present to the world. And, who knows, maybe my confidence can give someone else the confidence to play with their own personal style.

All this to say, I dress well to feel well.

Arianne Thigpen loves all things fashion and body positivity. Sometimes she dances. She lives in Austin, TX with her large, skittish dog and a great circle of friends. You can find her on Instagram at @ariwearsthings.


Chelsea Francis