As frustrating as it may be to hear, the truth is that we’re judged (consciously and subconsciously) based on our outward appearance. In the workplace, we want to be taken seriously, and our clothes need to reflect that attitude.
Here are some tips for making sure your work wardrobe works for you!
6 Tips for Choosing a Comfortable but Sophisticated Work Style
1. Don’t Be the Sexy Secretary Stereotype
Despite what Hollywood portrays, there’s no reason to dress sexy to try to climb the corporate ladder. Such a strategy can backfire! Leave the short skirts, low-cut necklines and spiky heels in your closet. If you think there’s any reason why someone might stare at your outfit instead of listening to what you have to say, consider wearing something else.
2. The Right Footwear Will Get You Through the Day
If you can spend 10 hours a day in 3-inch heels without getting ridiculously sore, rock on. But for many women, wearing high heels can quickly fatigue not only the feet, but also the ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Do yourself a favor and wear comfortable shoes to stay comfortable, positive and productive throughout the day. Dansko and Alexander McQueen sell some really comfortable work-style shoes. Virtually any shoe with a low (or no) heel that you find comfortable will do the trick.
3. Dress in Layers for Unpredictable Office Temperatures
Virtually everyone who has worked in an office has griped about the AC being too high or too low. It’s a common problem, so wear layers! Bring a blazer or cardigan in case the air inside your office feels like a refrigerator, but wear short sleeves in case the AC shuts off and you’re left sweltering in the heat.
In short, you want to be flexible based on the temperature inside. Even within a single day, you can go from freezing to sweating to freezing again, simply based on the cycle of the air conditioner or the temperature of different areas of the building. You might have a meeting in which you’re shivering, but your personal office is quite warm. You can only be productive if you’re comfortable!
[RELATED: The Right Way to Plan Your Wardrobe]
4. Pay Attention to Dress Code and Company Culture
Every office has a dress code. The employee handbook should officially list it. Try to follow all of the guidelines to show you take the job seriously.
However, there are also unwritten rules. Take a look at what your co-workers are wearing, and especially at what your superiors are wearing. Does everyone dress very conservatively, or is a far more casual atmosphere the reality?
If everyone around you is dressed casually, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in prim-and-proper dress. By all means, rock your Marni or Alexander McQueen accessories to show off your personal eclectic style—but only if individuality is accepted at your workplace.
5. Dress for the Job You Want
When you’re aiming for a promotion, it’s important to walk the walk: take on more responsibility, choose challenging projects, be a team player, and dress like you want to be there. If you wear clothes that are more appropriate for a club, a sports field or your couch, you send a message that says, “I’d rather be somewhere else.”
6. Wear Deep, Dark Colors
An office is a conservative environment. Men’s suits are traditionally made in dark colors: black, navy and gray are the main palette, with perhaps a little room for a personal touch in the tie or shirt color. As a classy career girl, try to mirror that classic style by wearing dark or deep colors with just a touch of brightness in your accessories.
Have any other tips or an enlightening story to share about work wardrobes? Leave a comment below!
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