Getting Dressed in a Hurry: Business Formal (Feminine)

{This piece is geared towards people of any gender looking towards a more society-labeled “feminine” business formal look}.

I’m a Leo, so I pounce on any chance to strut around looking like I may or may not have an empire to my name.

I imagine that I’m not the only one who appreciates  business formal events, since these are terrific opportunities work it.

However, I’m aware that for many people, business formal attire is something to be dreaded.  I don’t personally understand this sentiment, but I do sympathize.  This entry is for you guys, too.

The pressure is on; chances are that if you’re going somewhere decked in boujee formal from head to toe, you have no choice but to achieve perfection – there are serious things riding on how well you nail the look.

Or maybe you’re just going for the free lunch and you really don’t want to work hard to look good.

Either way, this style guide is here for you.  Whether you love to “suit up” or you voted for sweatpants as the global uniform, we can all agree that pulling a business formal outfit together in a rush is the substance of nightmares.

It’s possible to smolder in a rush.  Here’s how to do it, superstar.


Suit or Dress

First things first – are you attending this event in a suit or in a dress [or pantsuit]?  Make that decision first.  The dress [or pantsuit] is easier in terms of assembling a striking and elegant outfit, but nothing says “I’m here to conquer” quite like a suit does.  Whichever you choose, you’ll have made a great decision.


Don’t forget to consider whether you’ve shaved or not while deciding what to wear (unless you’ve chosen to let your legs and underarms grow out, in which case, carry on).  You’ll save yourself time, trouble, and misery by keeping this in mind as you set down the groundwork for your stunning outfit.

If you’ve chosen to go with a suit, I advise matching your blazer and the corresponding skirt or pants.  It’s easier and it’s safer, especially when you’re on-the-go and don’t have the time to get it wrong.  Blacks with blacks, greys with greys, dark blues with dark blues, tans with tans, whites with whites, etc.

If you want to express a quirkier type of boldness, then colored suits could work [if your career field allows it].  For business formal suit colors that go off the general neutral wheel, your best bets are probably royal blue, dark-hued amaranthine, or olive green.

Whatever suit shades you choose to go with, just be sure they match!

Now, you need to decide what goes beneath the suit.  This is something you’ll want to be able to wear well underneath the blazer and tucked comfortably into your suit skirt or pants.  I’ve found that collared shirts, blouses, plain-colored, crisp t-shirts, and stretchy broad shoulder tank tops go well under a suit.  If you’re going with the t-shirts or tank tops, just be sure that they’re of decent quality and that their lax attitude won’t peek out from behind the rest of the outfit.

For the color of your top, try to stick to neutral shades.  If you can’t, just remember that it shouldn’t be pink if you’re wearing amaranthine, it shouldn’t be red if you’re wearing green, etc.  If you’re not sure about what works and what doesn’t, Google it!  But again, I would advise neutral shades just to be on the safer and crisper side.

Whether you picked out a suit or a dress, the hardest part is done!  Give yourself a pat on the back [quickly].


Makeup, hair, and nails

So, you’re in a rush, and you can’t put on your entire face.  What do you do?

Well, for one, don’t panic – you’re gorgeous either way.

Put on your fundamentals – what you wouldn’t leave the house without.  Worried about your skin?  Put on your layer of foundation.  Self-conscious about your eyelashes?  Brush on the mascara.  You get the idea.


Quickly apply some lipstick that doesn’t clash with your outfit – nude or dark red shades are your best options for business formal outfits.

If you have hair that sits well on its own, run a comb through it, ruffle it out a bit with your fingers, and go with a natural look.

If you don’t have confidence in your hair’s natural look for a business formal setting, slick it back into a quick ballet bun; secure it with water, gel, and light [sans-residue] hairspray.

If your nails have some wild color on them or just look chipped and terrible, remove the nail polish.  Quickly cotton-swab the pigment off and call it a day on that front.  Make sure that you don’t have any hang nails or jagged ends that will stab someone else’s palm when you shake hands.

Nail polish addicts, this may seem impossible to do for you – so, if you have two extra minutes, go ahead and apply a thin top coat polish.  If you don’t have that time, don’t worry about it – it’ll be okay.

Boom, you’re done with that.



You’re running late for a business formal event and you want to accessorize – that’s understandable.

But this section is going to be short – absolutely slap a watch around your wrist, and grab your glasses if you want that nerd chic look (or if you honestly just can’t see anything without them).

Grab a black, white, tan, or grey bag that’s atleast tall and wide enough to comfortably host a piece of printer paper (and make sure that the bag looks good against the rest of your outfit).  At the very least, throw in a notebook, folder, and pens before you head out.

Okay, speedy one. On to the next.




Whether you choose flats, mediums, or stilettos, just be sure that your shoes have a polished, formal feel to them and match your suit or dress well.

Shoes define the character of your outfit – flats express practicality, mediums make you seem polished, and stilettos give you a strong edge.

All of these take moments to put on, so which ones you decide to go with won’t make or break you in terms of reaching your event on time.  They will, however, be the part of your outfit that truly declares who you are.

Choose carefully.

Now that you’re all dressed up for the professional world, take a deep breath – you may not have nailed the look you initially envisioned, but you’re a vision anyways.

Go get ‘em, tiger.

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