Style in the workplace

The work place can be very demanding.

You are either joining the working world for the first time and finding your feet, returning after children, moving on up the chain or maintaining your position amongst fellow workers!  The latter can be a very difficult situation to manage – you are, maybe, ‘holding your own’ in a very male dominated environment or jostling amongst others for promotion.

Clothing can often be a big deciding factor in whether you sink or swim.


Entering the work place for the first time requires a set of work clothes – most likely budget items for disposable income will be a big factor.  Clever buying and an understanding of the office code of dress will stand you in good stead.  Simple lines in a cut and colour that flatter you, personally, are a must. Savvy shopping, at this stage, is important – you do not want to waste valuable resources on clothes that do not pass muster; that make you look tired, untidy or disorganised.  You may think a simple white blouse and black skirt are the ideal, simple combination but a cream shirt and navy trousers may actually be the better choice for you.


Returning after raising children poses even more issues.  Fashions and styles will certainly have changed since you last worked.  Your body shape – and probably your colour type will have altered considerably too.


Maintaining and elevating your position in the work place requires even more careful planning and subtle changes to your wardrobe – even down to the shade of nail polish that your choose.  Do the clothes you wear ooze confidence and reliability?  Are they dynamic and well –tailored enough to challenge any suave, male suit?


People occasionally say to me “Clothes do not matter.  It is the inside of a person that counts.”  Unfortunately this is not so in a competitive work place.  We all, whether we like it or not, decide to warm to some one or trust them based on our initial impressions.  An interviewer will subconsciously make a decision as you enter the room.


You may already have a good grasp of the shades and hues that work for you.  You may be aware of your assets and how to play to your strengths BUT you will still need to adapt your knowledge to the work environment.   I do not recommend turning up for an interview in a tea dress and wedges or a sparkly top.


All of the above chat is directed at women but the same advice applies to men too!  Know the specific colour of shirt that makes you appear healthy and alive, not hung over, and the cut of jacket that gives a ‘Je ne sais quoi’ – not an over indulged waist line.


The aim of workplace styling is to develop a capsule wardrobe of co-ordinating items that are easy to style, easy to wear and maintain but just give an edge of professional sophistication and competence.  You may be comfortable in your job, sat behind the desk in a cosy, oversized cardigan but someone WILL come along and challenge your desk and that cardigan in their effortlessly easy, pure wool suit!!

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