It is a universally acknowledged truth that people in retail can rarely afford what they sell. Add this to the usual all-black dress code, and holiday retail jobs can be a recipe for consistently bringing your sartorial C-game. That’s no good for two reasons: it brings down your mood and it brings down your commission. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a big budget to achieve a pulled-together retail look — in fact, you probably already own everything you’ll need. So rustle up your best black pieces, and let’s rock out that holiday retail gig in style.
What You’ll Need:
- A black sweater
- A black button-up shirt
- A white shirt with detailing
- A black shirt with neck detailing
- A black skirt with texture
- A pair of black slacks
- Black jeans
- A short statement necklace
- A tie, long or bow
For me, the key to dressing well for retail is the same as for writing a third-grade book report: Keep It Simple. Stick to one low-key accessory, preferably close to your radiant face, create clean lines with solid colors to flatter that smokin’ bod of yours, and stay comfortable in low-maintenance duds — save those high heels for happy hour.
This is one of my favorite looks: high-waisted trousers + detailed shirt. I love a good high-waisted pant, for three reasons: 1) When I can’t wear vintage, I try to channel a vintage silhouette 2) High-waisted pants are super flattering on a range of figures, from boyish (see above) to curvy, and can give you anything from a femme to a classic menswear look, and 3) I know for a fact when I bend over to look for something, I’ve got my bass covered. As for the top, the collar chain here creates no-fuss visual interest and brings the focus up toward the face.
Switch out the trousers for jeans, and you’ve got a hip look that’s perfect for younger, cooler companies. The smooth texture of this polyester top creates depth when paired with tougher denim, and cuffing the jeans above a pair of oxfords lengthens the leg.
For a laid-back look, just pull on a sweater, allowing the neck detailing to lay on top of it. This sweater has a boat neck to add interest to the neckline, but a V-neck sweater would work just as well. Bonus: one added layer lets you wear the same pieces two shifts in a row without shame.
Looking to class up the joint? Go for an equestrian look by switching out the black top for a white ruffled blouse (dress code permitting). The uninterrupted line from shoulders to feet lets your figure stand out without exposing anything to cruel winter winds. Go for broke by trading your oxfords for black boots.
Show your softer side by losing the jeans in favor of a high-waisted skirt. The texture of the ribbons on this skirt and the ruffles on the blouse make for a luxe look without a high price tag, and the higher waist gives a classic retro vibe. This is, in general, a great rule to live by: texture creates visual interest without loading on the accessories. Jewelry is great, but not when demonstrating a product sets your bangles a-janglin’.
Do you go all in for dapper? Few things cut a more dashing figure than all-black menswear, from button-up and Windsor-knotted tie down to your black oxfords. For that extra touch, use a stick pin or brooch as a tie pin. Switch out the black tie for a white bow tie for a pop of texture, or if you refuse to color inside the dapper/femme lines, try a short, sparkly necklace under the collar.
These same seven pieces can mix and match to create a near-endless variety of outfits that’ll take you right through December 26th in style. So go forth, and make the yuletide gay.