The way I would like to dress is often at severe odds with what is expected and required for the office. In my mind, a cross between the ladies on Lipstick Jungle, Cashmere Mafia, and Sex and the City (ie my idea of power corporate dressing- anyone remember what Lucy Liu used to wear to work?!) conveys that perfect mix of professional and fun. However, in my office, I would not only look out of place and way over the top, but probably wouldn't be taken seriously in my position either.
The Lipstick Jungle girls rug up on the way to work!
The Cashmere Mafia girls are big on belted waists.
The thought of dressing in a black suit and white shirt every day is severly depressing, but while every magazine hypes up the importance of accesories to "Add Interest" to a basic work outfit, the sheer monotomy of this approach makes me want to cry.
This is what I wish I could wear to work, vs, What I actually wore to work (yawn!).
Can you guess which outfit I wore!?
So I'm making up my own rules and tips, and hopefully this can inspire me to be a bit more interesting in my work outfits:
WHAT TO BUY.
When buying something for work, making sure that it is an item that I can wear casually also when styled differently. For example, a pretty print blouse looks professional with a black pencil skirt, but can also look casual when paired underneath with jeans, boots and a fur gillet.
ONE INTEREST POINT ONLY.
If wearing an amazing pair of decorative pumps, keep every other piece in the outfit simple. Yes, that means no other prints, colours, or designs. PLAIN is the name of the game. That outlandish piece is risque enough.
Shoes, Jewellery, Scarves, Belts, Handbags etc. in fun prints, colours, textures, and seasonal trend styles can update a work look and allow you to keep wearing the basics you already own whilst maintaining professionalism.
UTILIZE CLASSIC SHAPES.
A crazy skirt mightnt be appropriate, but a bright green pencil skirt with a white shirt allows modesty, whilst the green lifts the outfit. In other words, if you keep the shape professional and classic, you have some more leeway in appropriateness level to experiment with fun colours and prints.
KEEP UNCONVENTIONAL SHAPES NEUTRAL.
If you want to wear something in an unusual shape or design, ie a frilly top or something very fussy, keep the colour in one solid block colour, in a neutral shade ie black white beige navy etc. Again, keep it paired with other basic pieces and let the design of the piece be the focus.
Yes, that fun stuff might be acceptable in the office. In client meetings or out on site, not so much. Pick and choose wisely when to push the boundaries and when to play it safe.
Yes, be an individual. But if everyone else is doing twin sets and pearls, and you're doing funky 70s prints, not only may you be seen as not fitting in with the culture, but oblivious to some of the required standards. Noone wears twin sets without good cause!
OBVIOUS NO NO's.No: Short Skirts, Lots of Cleavage, Midriffs, Sneakers, Flatforms, Nightclub makeup, Fake tacky jewellery etc. Shaking up the rules doesn't give you the opportunity to ignore the clearly Unacceptable.
Hopefully I am inspired to take another look in my wardrobe and find new ways of pairing some of my non work clothing and incorporating it into my work outfits, rather than spending more money on more work things that I cannot wear outside of work!
What do you wear to work!? How much do you spend on work clothes as opposed to casual clothes? What percentage of your wardrobe is work/casual/both!? Let me know below!