Although we have general guidelines for what to wear in an office setting, the fine line that once separated appropriate and inappropriate-office attire has become a gray area. For example, it would be no surprise to see the founder of a startup company conduct business in jeans and a T-shirt, yet that ensemble would likely be frowned upon at a larger corporation.
Honing in on your job’s dress code will not only help you appropriately dress for your office, but a powerful professional wardrobe can also lead you down the path to success.
1. Get Inspired
Seasonal change is the perfect time to hit the pause button and get inspired! Make the time to flip through magazines, head downtown, surf the web… get inspired by the natural style reset that presents itself with the change of seasons.
2. Pick Your Path
Get clear on the season’s style cue’s that emotionally resonate with you. Not all trends are for all people – and that’s a good thing!
3. Claim Your Color Crushes
Color is one of the easiest ways to update one’s wardrobe and yet it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Two rules of thumb:
(i). Know your neutral. Rooting your wardrobe in the neutral that best suits you will help to optimize versatility. Black not for you? Maybe you are more of a grey, brown or navy person. Whatever it is – claim it.
(ii). Same goes for seasonal color. Commit to a tight palette of newness. Just one or two new colors go a long way.
4. Make Room For the New
Before setting out to shop, take stock of what you have. Donate, sell or give away what you’ve not worn in the last year. A pared down closet will simplify getting dressed each morning and who wouldn’t want that?!
5. Shop Strategically
After taking inventory of your existing wardrobe, identify the gaps and shop with clear intent. This approach will keep you from over shopping and also ensure that you can style a lot of different looks out of a curated collection of pieces.
6. Double Down
There are some things that are worth investing in, if you are able. Shoes, handbags and outerwear are top of the list. Why? Because they complete the look. Pair an awesome pair of shoes with less expensive apparel and the look is instantly elevated. Same goes for handbag or outerwear.
7. Embrace Your Go-To’s
It’s tempting to feel like you need to dress a certain way when you’re under pressure for a big meeting. Comfort breeds confidence. Don’t ditch your go-to (fill in the blank) if you’ve got a big presentation coming up. Wearing what you feel comfortable in will positively impact your ability to show up as your best self.
8. Ignore the Rules
As the workplace evolves and dress codes relax, it’s more fun than ever to push your workplace style. Pair denim with denim, wear black with navy, choose white after Labor Day (gasp!) or opt for a sequined top during the day. Above all, fashion is a creative outlet to express yourself. Have fun with it!
9. Travel with Purpose
When traveling for work or pleasure, focus on a narrow color palette and build outfits around that. You’ll be able to do more with less and might even save you from checking a bag!
10. The Toolkit is Key
Invest in a hand-steamer over an iron. It’s compact, quick and so much easier than the alternative! Keep it in your bathroom for last minute touch ups. Other tools to keep handy at your desk or in your bag include a lint brush (or masking tape in a pinch) and polishing cloths for shoes and jewelry.