This post goes out to all my fellow female engineers out there.  Those of you who when you’ve told people what you do, they say, “Wow really? You’re an engineer?”  As if you being an engineer is so wildly unbelievable. Which, quite frankly is insulting.  I know I definitely get it a lot particularly because of how I dress.  And it’s these kinds of reactions that deters a lot  of my fellow women in STEM professions from branching out with their style.  There is still this fear that if we admit that we even have the slightest interest in fashion it will somehow disqualify us as engineers and being taken seriously.  That and the struggle of having to wear protective gear and work in hazardous and dirty environments.  Which begs the question, what do people think engineers should look like? Well I’m here to shed some light, as a female engineer in the automotive industry on what I wear to work.  Never have I been told to tone down the way I dress so that others will take me seriously.  And I’ll bet no guys have ever been told that either.  So to celebrate the new year I rounded up 11 of my favorite work outfit ideas for female engineers and women in STEM professions.  And to answer your next question, yes I’ve worn these all to work.  Keep in mind I work in the automotive industry so I’m not required to wear protective gear 24/7, only when I go into the garage.  But I have worn a variation of these looks while under a hoisted vehicle checking out leaking exhaust systems with all the proper protective gear on.  Also be sure to read the captions where I share tips and concepts behind each outfit which can be applied for whose job has more stringent dress codes.

For my female engineers do work in places that require more protective clothing, like the plant or structural jobs, be sure to read the comments below where I share more tips on how to dress stylishly in those environments!

 

Monochrome Work Outift for Female Engineers

  1. A monochrome outfit is always an easy choice for work.  For a sophisticated look, try rocking the same shade from head to toe.  If you want to add interest play with different shades and add pieces with fun details. Get the details on this monochrome look.

Fashionable Work Outfit Ideas for Female Engineers

2.  If rocking one color head to toe is too bold, try mixing and matching your neutrals!  If you’re able play with your silhouette by swapping out regular slacks for culottes or a wide leg style.  Get my tips on mixing your neutrals for work.

Fall Work Outfit Idea for Female Engineers

3.  Try turning a layering piece into a top. This is another easy way to add some interest to a work look and can be done with a jacket, vest or blazer!  If you can’t have anything dangling stick to buttoning all the buttons or a fitted waist belt. See how else you can style a short sleeve coat.

winter work outfit idea for female engineers

4.  Don’t be afraid to rock a crop top to your 9-5!  To get away with this either layer it over a longer blouse or pair it with a pair of ultra-high waist pants.

Cute Work Outfit for Female Engineers

5.  If you’re looking for something more quirky color blocking is a fun way to brighten up your work look.  You can stick to colors of a similar shade or even try color clashing to really make a bold statement!

Easy Work Outift Idea for Female Engineers

6.  For a more subtle approach to color try just a pop of color with a bold piece.  If you’re not allowed to layer then choose a top or bottom that really makes a statement.  Bonus points  if you can sneak in a fun print as well!

Chic Work Outfit Idea for Female Engineers

7.  Want to take your look to the next level but color isn’t your thing?  Go beyond color blocking and play with textures to add interest to your work outfit!

8.  Let’s face it, everyone needs a good suit. Skip your boring black suit and find a suit in a fun yet versatile color that can be mixed and matched endlessly.

9.  Struggling to to feel stylish? Try to incorporate one of the latest trends into your work wear.  If there’s a color or print of the season add a work friendly piece to your wardrobe! Also look out for unique details like paperbag waist trousers to swap out for your every day slacks or jeans.

Work Outift Idea for Female Engineers

10.  Need something quick and easy? Opt for a jumpsuit instead of a dress.  There are so many chic jumpsuit options that can can be worn to in most work environments.  The key is to find the piece that works best with your job’s dress code.

An easy chic work outfit idea for female engineers

11.  My ultimate trick for stylish work wear is finding pieces with unique details!  A midi skirt but with a wrap front and chic buckle or trousers with cool fasteners.  Incorporating basics with a spin is the easiest way to incorporate your personal style while working within the confines of your dress code!

Check out my Work Wear Picks for Female Engineers Below:

If you’re looking for even more amazing work wear for under $100 then follow my Budget Work Wear Board on Pinterest!

11 Work Outfit Ideas for Female Engineers

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Photos by Jordan Bowens

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5 Comments

  1. Nicole

    What kind of engineer are you and where are you working? I am a Chemical Engineer and I have just gotten my first Co op. I’m at a specialty chemical plant and the dress is long sleeves, long plants and steel toed boots. I have no idea what to where and while I love these outfits most wouldn’t be allowed for me.

    • Jordan Blackwell

      Hey Nicole,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing! I’m a service parts engineer at an automotive company, who shall remain anonymous. But while I was in college I interned at Alcoa as a metallurgical intern and was required to wear a flame retardant long sleeve, steel toed boots, a hard helmet and safety glasses because I worked in the plant. While most would feel restricted it was during this time I was inspired to start my blog, not only to highlight women in engineering but show that there are other engineering jobs outside of the plant, and how women can dress for those jobs. During my internship I relied heavily on colored or printed pants, make-up and accessories to add personality to my very restricted dress code. If you don’t have to wear a designated top or bottom and the only restriction is that they must be long then use that to your advantage! Though you couldn’t wear some of these outfits exactly the concepts like adding color, print, and textures are definitely something you can apply to your work wardrobe that adds personality while meeting your strict dress code.

      Hope this helps!
      JB

  2. Jessica C.

    I know there are different types of engineers, but it would be great if you could make a post for female engineers that need to dress professional but still protect themselves against hazards in the field (i.e. chemical, civil, structural). While this post has great work outfit ideas for females you should make one for those of us who are trying to find clothes that are feminine, protective, and stylish at the same time.

    • Jordan Blackwell

      Hey Jessica!

      I’ve definitely had other female engineers in those fields who reached out with those exact thoughts. Their immediate reaction was that these looks won’t work for their environment. But after some back and forth I showed them the key is to to be open minded and look at the concept of each outfit rather than the actual pieces themselves. The first look for example is, at face value, a sweater, midi skirt and booties but the concept I talk about in the caption below it is creating a monochrome outfit. That doesn’t necessarily mean with the pieces I used but with pieces that work for your dress code.

      I’m an engineer in the auto industry and I have worn all of these outfits in the garage under hoisted vehicles while looking at leaking exhaust systems. With a few additions like a hard hat and eye glasses and swaps like close toed shoes instead of heels these looks were both protective and stylish in my work environment. But as you said there are different types of engineers and what I may be allowed to wear and is deemed as appropriate to protect against the hazards of my job might not be the same for you. The trick is to identify the restrictions you have for pieces you want to wear to work then find pieces that you love that also fit the criteria.

      Best,
      JB

  3. Samantha Redmond

    Lady Engineers are few and far betweenand back when I was in college I was the only female in any of my Eng. classes for 3 semesters, I’ve been active as a Mechanical Engineer since 2013 and I’ve yet to meet another in person. When you work in a male dominated field your personal style is so important. You need to be noticed and taken seriously. I had to learn that the hard way as an intern. I absolutely love the looks you’ve come up with and will be drawing inspiration from them.

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