Fads, Trends, and Crazes: When They Work in the Workplace

By , Columnist

I don't know about you, but out of nowhere I've started seeing stories pop up in People, Glamour, and on my local NBC network about the newest thing in fads: sporting colorful feathers in place of or alongside the clip- or weave-in hair extensions that have become such a Hollywood beauty staple. Hilary Duff has frequently been showing off her clip-in plumage for photogs, but it would appear that this trend is taking hold both on and off the red carpet.

Says one commenter on a Glamour.com article about these fashion-forward feathers, "I go to a hip private school in Austin and there isn't a girl on campus who isn't rocking the feather extensions. I started seeing them mid-summer 2010, so I guess the rest of the country is just catching up!"

Now, while this fad is super cute and adorably youthful, it begs the question (as have so many before it): where on earth can I wear this?

Survey says: probably not to the office.

After all, just because I love to wear sequins, glittery stilettos, and one-shouldered shirts - or even feathers in my hair - when I'm off the clock doesn't mean the coworkers, clients, customers, vendors, or other individuals with whom I interact from 9 to 5 are comfortable seeing me in them.

I've heard women scoff at the idea that image is everything, saying that it's shallow and ridiculous to dress for other people. But know that packaging your professional fabulousness in the sharpest way possible shouldn't be discounted as simple vanity. A well-executed wardrobe and first-class presentation not only gain you the notice and respect of your coworkers, they make you feel the part of the powerful woman who kicks ass, takes names, and looks incredible while she does it.

If you want to go trendy in the office, do it conservatively - classy cocktail rings, sparkling accent necklaces, and killer heels are all viable alternatives. When in doubt, though, snag your nearest HR rep to see if your proposed accoutrements are Ă  propos.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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