How a Debt Settlement Negotiator Dresses for Success

I work with creditors to resolve client's delinquent debt for less than what is owed on a Bank of America or Capital One credit cards, for example. This type of program is called debt settlement, but we have a particular advantage by being able to offer a portion of our clients the loan program. This program helps people who experience a hardship that make it difficult to keep up with payments to creditors, such as medical expenses, divorces or forced retirement.

My office manual describes the dress code as “casual business,” but you will see a lot of women walking around in leggings. Our office now has over 200 employees, but we are about 80% women. We mostly talk on the phone; there is no person-to-person interaction. However, I’ve lately been trying to dress for success while still incorporating elements of myself in my outfits.  Typically, only management wears more professional clothing. The biggest rule in our office is no exposed shoulders, and I don’t cycle through accessories. I wear the same jewelry everyday. Here’s what I wore this week:

The basics: Vera Bradley Mattie Pop Art Glasses (about $300, which includes my lenses and anti-reflective coating) / LuLu's Awaken Your Magic Earrings ($25) / LuLu's Apollonia Multi Star Necklace ($24) / Triangle Ring and Braided Ring from Old Navy (bought more than five years ago, about $20 for both) / Michael Kors Mercer Large Dome Satchel in Brown (discontinued, about $170 bought on sale). Total: $519

Monday: Le Lis Solid Cardigan ($39.95) / LuLu's So Lovable Blue Mandala Print Top ($34) / Free People Easy Goes It Denim Leggings ($58) / Sandals from Target (bought more than three years ago, about $25). Total: $156.95

Honestly, I hate wearing pants. I bought these on a whim and they are holy grail status for me; I ended up buying two more colors. The leggings pull in my stomach and really show off my curves. I love them so much. I’m also a huge fan of flowy tops, and my cardigan is a tuxedo cut so it adds a bit of flair to an otherwise boring piece of clothing. Side note: My sandals got me through a 20 mile walk in Washington, D.C., and I only cried in pain a little bit.

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Tuesday: LuLaRoe Madison Skirt ($46) / Mossimo cardigan (bought at Target years ago for about $25) / LUSH Charvi White Tank Top ($19) / Vegan Tieks ($175). Total: $265

LuLaRoe is not something I was ever into, however I found this Madison skirt and it is so comfortable. It also has deep pockets! I’m not sure if the color combo works, but I love mustard yellow. The Tieks were expensive, but I’ve wanted them since I was 16 and just recently purchased. They are just... OK. I wouldn’t buy another pair. Although I love this outfit, I now realize I blend in with the bathroom wall.

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Wednesday: Beulah Moto Leggings ($44.95) / LuLu's Cream Floral Print Top ($52) / A.N.A cardigan (bought more than 10 years ago, estimated $40) / Target sandals ($25). Total: $161.95

Does this outfit even match? I love this top, and the cardigan has gotten me through so many years and still looks amazing.

Thursday: LuLu's Carlton Light Blue Button- Up Top ($39) / LuLu's Beautiful Tempest Navy Blue Print Wrap Maxi Skirt ($40) / Target sandals ($25). Total: $104

I’m upset that the skirt is a lot longer than pictured, but I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I’m 5’5”, and I’m sure the model is at least 6 feet tall. However, this outfit is super light and airy, so it’s perfect for humid days, and I think it looks super cute.

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Friday: Dress bought from TJ Maxx years ago (about $15) / Aeropostale Open Ribbed Cardigan (bought on sale for $17) / Target sandals ($25). Total: $57

The cheapest outfit of all is also one of the most comfortable. This dress has held up for years and I always get compliments on it. I feel like it’s one of a kind, too, because I never see anyone else wear it. I also approve that I can go braless in this dress.

Kate Boone is a negotiator for Century Support Services in North Huntingdon, Penn.

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