If you’re tired of wearing the same old outfit at work, you’ve probably considered going on a shopping spree or hiring your own personal fashion stylist. It’s also possible that you are hesitant to do these things because a part of you believes that clothes are superficial. Just like everyone else, you’ve likely been taught to not ‘judge a book by its cover’.
However, as we all know, this idealist sentiment hasn’t stopped job interviewers and managers from judging others by the way they dress. And as harsh as it might sound, it’s likely that it hasn’t stopped you from doing it either.
Instead of lamenting this, it’s better to embrace it. It’s better to see fashion as an artistic opportunity to express yourself at the workplace.
The key to dressing up at work is to show off your own personal tastes while still looking professional and presentable. To help you get this balance right, here’s a short guide on how to dress professionally at work.
- Purchase staple pieces
When people think about fashion, most of them think of large walk-in wardrobes with an endless collection of shirts, dresses and shoes. If you talk to a professional stylist, however, they’ll likely tell you that you don’t need a lot of clothes to have a versatile wardrobe.
In order to save money and your sanity, it’s best to invest just a few timeless staples that you can mix and match.
Here’s a rough guide:
- Tops – It’s good to have around six to seven different tops for visual variety but also for seasonal changes. Tops include blouses, t-shirts, long-sleeves and so on.
- Pants – When it comes to pants, three to four pairs are enough to give you some variety throughout the week. Along with your professional dress pants and slacks, you should also mix in a couple of casual pieces. Chinos and denims are great casual additions.
- Outerwear – Jackets and blazers should be limited to two or three. Because of the variety of combinations that you can create through your selection of tops and pants, you don’t really need too many jackets to shake things up at the office.
Remember, there’s no exact formula for a perfect wardrobe. Feel free to take away or add to this list as you see fit. The point of this list is to show you that you don’t need to break the bank to dress well at the office.
So, use your small wardrobe to its full potential. Be creative and experiment with different combinations. You might be surprised with what you can come up with.
- Get the right pair of shoes
When buying shoes, the first thing you should consider is comfort. You don’t want to be walking around the office for eight hours straight wearing uncomfortable footwear.
If your office allows them, a simple pair of flats or a stylish pair of sneakers are great choices. If you can’t have casual footwear at the workplace, don’t worry. Nowadays, there are plenty of dress shoes that have rubber in-soles. With these shoes, you can get the professional look of a leather wingtip with the comfort of a basketball shoe.
Next, you need to think about how your shoes compliment your entire outfit. When it comes to colors, it’s best to stick to the classics: black and brown. Black and brown leather shoes go well with pretty much anything. Business or casual, these colors will never fail you.
White sneakers are also great if your office allows casual wear. If your outfit has an overall dark theme, white shoes are a simple way to add light color accents.
- Choose your accessories
Sometimes, your outfit is just missing that one little piece, that one little thing that can make it complete. If you feel this way about most of your outfits, then you might want to start looking for accessories.
For both men and women, a timepiece is always a great addition. When it comes to watches, you don’t want something too grand and complex; you want to keep it as simple and minimalistic as possible. You want your timepiece to complement your outfit, not outshine it.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of affordable ‘fashion watches’ out there. Most of these fashion timepieces have either a black or a white face with a brown or black leather strap. Some of them even have a touch of gold or silver. They’re understated, minimalistic and would certainly go well with any type of outfit.
Other accessories to consider are clutches, handbags, scarves, bracelets and glasses. All of these should follow the same rules as your watch. Keep it simple and use them to support or add to the aesthetic of your overall outfit.
- Take care of your clothes
It doesn’t matter how expensive your clothes are, if you don’t take care of them, they’re not going to look good and they’re certainly not going to look professional. So, it’s best to wash and iron your clothes regularly.
You’ll be surprised how much a wrinkled shirt changes the look of your outfit and how people receive it. Having an ironed-out shirt and fresh-smelling jacket will let people know that you’re organized. It lets them know that you care about presentation and, therefore, professionalism.
This was just a rough guide to help you get started on your fashion journey. If you feel that you need extra help with your wardrobe, consider hiring a personal stylist. These specialists have a ton of experience working with different types of people in various industries. They also understand that fashion can be intimidating to some people. Their job is to make you feel comfortable about trying new things while also still being true to yourself. They understand current trends and will help you reach your fullest fashion potential.