To dress well for work is to strike the perfect balance between fitting in and standing out. Most importantly, if your workplace has a dress code it’s important to know what it is and how to interpret it. Understanding what the dress code means and tailoring your work wardrobe to suit it can help you represent yourself in the best light and boost your confidence.
There’s no shame in wanting to look your best every day, after all how you feel about yourself can have a huge impact on your mood and translate over to your work. So, in celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022, here’s the ultimate guide to helping you communicate confidence in the workplace and make a lasting impression.
1. A Cut Above The Rest – Never, ever compromise on fit. There is nothing worse than an ill-fitting blazer or shirt. The point is, no matter how good that outfit looks on a mannequin, if it doesn’t fit your body phenomenally, it can diminish the perception of professionalism you’re trying to convey. If it’s not quite right off the rack, hiring a tailor could be a valuable investment and may not be as expensive as you think. It’s worth calling around to find somebody in your local area who is reliable and can do a good job. Things like adjusting the waistline of a blazer or hemming your trousers can make all the difference to your final look.
2. Invest in High Quality Heels – There’s nothing that can take the spring out of your step quicker than sore toes or aching heels. After all, it’s called a power walk not a power hobble. We’ve probably all bought at least one pair of beautiful, yet uncomfortable shoes in our lives that end up being resigned to the back of the wardrobe. When looking for a comfortable pair, keep the following in mind: Lose some height – The taller the heel, the more pressure you put on the ball of your foot. Consider a pair of heels that are a few inches shorter to alleviate some of that pressure. Chunk it up – Block heels offer better stability and weight distribution than thin ones. Select the right size and fit – Find a pair that hugs your foot snugly and holds it firmly in place. A rounded rather than pointy toe can also leave a lot more room for your feet.
3. Start With a Blazer – The blazer has been the pinnacle of professional elegance for the last century. It’s a piece that has transcended rapidly-moving fashion trends and shows no sign of disappearing. Easy to style with any ensemble, any taste, age and profession, it’s the perfect addition to your wardrobe. Start with one or two versatile blazers in traditional shapes and colours (like black and grey) and you can begin adding to your collection from there. Adding some accessories and a pair of heels can also take you from the office to post-work cocktail hour in less than five minutes.
4. Add a Pop of Colour – Some people think that working in an office means being restricted to head-to-toe black! This is absolutely not the case. While black and grey are pretty standard for a corporate setting, getting creative and adding a pop of colour can help you show off your personality and boost your confidence. A good way of dipping your toe into the world of colour is by adding some vibrant accessories to an otherwise neutral outfit. You can be bold and choose a colour that contrasts starkly with your outfit or one that ties in with it more closely, without looking over the top.
5. Mix Structure and Flow – Balance your outfit with a mixture of flowing and structured garments to flatter your silhouette. You don’t want to look like you’re drowning in material but equally, may prefer not to wear an entire outfit that is tight-fitting. The solution is to mix and match. An example of this would be pairing an oversized blazer with cigarette pants or a pencil skirt or conversely, matching wide-leg trousers or a flared skirt with a fitted shirt.
6. Be Well-Groomed – Whether it’s a casual or business dress code that you’re expected to adhere to, always make being well-groomed essential.