By Kayla Lott, Toppel Ambassador
When I heard the words “business professional,” I used to hyperventilate.  One of the ways that I—as well as many others—express myself is through my style, and dressing business professional takes away from that completely…or so I used to think. 

Stereotypically, when people think business professional, they think all black, all basic and all boring, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are ways that we can express ourselves through our clothing that don’t have to be distracting or take away from our aptitude as young professionals.
So how exactly do we do that? 
For men, feel free to experiment with ties!  That doesn’t mean to wear your new Miami Dolphins tie; however, don’t shy away from patterns and colors (other than red and blue).  Also, experiment with different styles of ties.  The typically worn tie (aka the four-in-hand) is great, but there is also the bow tie that many don’t venture off to do, and there are other alternative ways to tie a tie (like the trinity or eldredge knot) that would give you a unique style as well.
Furthermore, take advantage of this great accessory called the vest.  It’s a nice change from the jacket, and the vest is something that generally looks good on all men.  A sweater, like the vest, is another great deviation from the norm.   Color is another thing that not enough men take advantage of.  The colors of the American flag aren’t the only colors that you can wear to the office, and pink—as well as purple—isn’t just a “girl color.”  Haven’t you heard that real men wear pink?
For women, there’s a lot that we can do.  High-waisted pants and skirts are in right now.  Feel free to wear them as long as the length is appropriate (at least knee-length).  Plus, it’ll give you more of an hourglass look.  Moreover, play around with accessories.  It’s okay to wear more than the pair of go-to studs you have sitting next to your business suit.  Pearls are a great accessory to enhance your outfit while also making you look elegant, as long as you wear them in moderation.  Don’t be afraid of earrings that dangle, just make sure they say business but fashionable not I’m going to the club after work.  Less is more is definitely a foundation to live by on wearing accessories in the work place, but think of less as modest not as sparing.
On the topic of the club, be careful of the heels you wear.  Many advise to keep heels to a half an inch, but this is 2013, and we’re fashion-forward young ladies.  Most of us probably don’t own a pair of heels that are less than three inches.  As long as they’re not too strappy, too high (five to six inches, four may be pushing it) and preferably close-toed, feel free to strut your stuff.  Lastly, lack of color isn’t just an issue for the men.  It’s okay for us to wear color too.  Wear that magenta colored skirt or the gold flats or both.  Fashion-forward isn’t just for the fashion merchandising majors.  It can be for us too.
So the next time you hear “business professional,” keep calm and style on because style is something that gives you the freedom to be who you are even when you are part of a unit.  When everyone else looks the same, it helps us to define ourselves as someone who is different, unique and divergent.  It’s something that can go from being a conversation starter to getting us a job, so don’t be afraid to wear that argyle tie or that chunky gold necklace.  It may be the very catalyst to get you your next connection.