Keeping It Real in Corporate America (Featuring Tia Banks)

Joining the workforce can be nerve-wrecking. You're constantly asking yourself: "is this okay?" or "will I get in trouble for doing that?" As you settle into your new job it's important for you to feel comfortable in your own skin. I teamed up with one of former classmates Tia Banks to provide tips for bringing aspects of your unique personality into the workplace!


HJ: I believe that all hair types are professional! Don’t be afraid to wear your natural kinks or protective styles to work. I’ll admit it - I was extremely nervous when I walked into my first post-grad job wearing box braids, but no one cared. I typically rock updos because I like to keep my hair out of my face.

If someone at your job makes you feel uncomfortable for wearing your natural hair, speak to HR. With legislation like California’s Crown Act, we are one step closer to nationally banning hair discrimination in the workplace.

TB: The fact that we, as black men and women, are discriminated against because of the way our hair naturally grows out of our scalp is unnerving. Black hair is professional--it’s just styled different than our white counterparts.


HJ: Fashion is one of my favorite outlets for self-expression and the workplace is no exception! Despite what you may think, professional attire doesn’t have to be boring. As someone who enjoys pops of color and bold prints, I try to incorporate them into my outfits for work. Wear something that makes you feel strong and confident. Whenever I’m feeling down at work or in need of a confidence boost I like to wear my famous lilac powersuit.

TB: You should never shy away from showcasing a little bit of your personality and culture through your wardrobe, especially in the workplace. There are ways to dress professionally and still reflect your most authentic self. Accessories usually are a great way to start.


TB: I love wearing my headwrap to work! I work in a more casual environment so wearing a headwrap isn’t out of place. It’s a touch of culture but is still a well put together look that you can’t be shamed for. My white co-workers always give compliments and ask if I think they could rock one. I quickly change the subject.

HJ: Accessories are a great way to bring some additional personality to your outfit! I usually stick to simple pieces of jewelry, but I like to mix it up from time to time. My office gets pretty chilly so I like to wear bold blanket scarfs to keep me warm.

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More About Tia:

Tia is an Atlanta-based blogger and public relations specialist. Her blog ( features fashion, food, and lifestyle tips for young millennials. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter (@tiabanks).