On this week’s New Girl, Zooey and my girl Lizzie Caplan had very different views on work-appropriate behaviors. Actually, they have very different views on everything, including dessert, but I’m expanding on their point that if Lizzie’s lawyer character were at work and acted like Zooey Deschanel’s teacher character, no one would take her seriously. And vice versa—Zooey couldn’t very well superglue a diorama with her students in a pant suit. 

We all know we need to dress professionally for whatever your job may be, but this begs the question: If your personality is all glittery ribbons, or bright colors, or anything other than a gray pant suit, do you have to tone it down or not be yourself at work? 

My theory is that you can absolutely be yourself. But, obviously, certain rules must be followed. No matter what your job is, you need to cover up. Showing skin might be fine on a summer day running errands in your neighborhood, but it is never acceptable in any job anywhere. Unless you are a life guard, and, even then, they wear one-pieces. 

My advice, if you’d like to branch out from all those office neutrals, is to keep your shapes classic and your skirts long. I’d also recommend keeping your materials … nice. I don’t necessarily mean expensive, but I do mean of good quality and generally free from wear and tear. After that, you can pretty much get away with any color that you want. 

If you saw someone wearing that, would you think “sloppy and immature” or “bold and professional”?

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