Working in the corporate world mean often means dressing ‘business formal’ or business casual. Aa this style tends to be a really different from how you’d dress at home – and certainly throughout lockdown – dressing appropriately can be a bit of a dilemma!
For the corporate world, you want to look your best and put your best foot forward in the office, making a positive impact. But navigating the work wardrobe and figuring out what is acceptable or not can be confusing. You don’t want to look ‘too stuffy’, yet you know you need to be looking smart and business-like yet with a hint of effortless style.
So, whether you are picking up some new items to add to your work wardrobe, starting a new job and need to start from scratch, or trying to make the most of what you already have, there are some tricks you can keep in mind for pulling your corporate work wardrobe together.
It’s ideal to have your first week of outfits ready for work, carefully chosen. Then, when you are there in the office or at your corporate events, you can then pay attention to what others are wearing so you can understand what is really worn in-office. You’ll soon know if you’re too formal or too casual.
That aside, here are 5 golden rules for dressing appropriately for the corporate world as a woman:
1. Less is more. Choose classic, clean lines
While you can still play with your personal style for corporate attire, it is helpful to get by via the rule of less is more. Classic, clean lines look much more professional and elegant for a corporate setting.
You can always mix in a single piece with a bit of personality when you want that extra touch, but you can do a lot more for a professional wardrobe with classic pieces. Keep your items with personality to perhaps a fitted shirt that you can wear under a blazer. For example, grey is a huge on-trend colour at the moment, and a light, fresh grey fitted shirt would look lovely under a stylish black blazer and well-fitted trousers. Pair with shoes with a mid height block heel and you’ll look fashionable yet professional, without looking like you’ve spent ages researching!
2. Quality over quantity
It’s better to have fewer pieces that are made from very good quality fabrics, than an abundance of cheaply made items. This not only extends the life of your items, but it also makes your looks look more elevated. You can tell quality a mile off!
A few high-quality items to opt for are: a blazer, handbag, pair of heels and trousers and a couple of fitted shirts. An Italian leather handbag, like the ones from Mirta for example, is always going to be a beautiful item, and will stand the test of time. Choose black, brown, cream or tan leather, which lend themselves to most outfits and colourways.
3. Don’t show too much skin
This one is a given, but depending on how you’re used to dressing, it’s sometimes worth reiterating. Avoid showing too much skin with your work wardrobe to keep things professional. There’s nothing wrong with bare legs and a skirt, but if so, keep the rest of the look conservative and classy. Long dress lines or midi dresses/skirts are great for this as you can choose to have you arms out on warmer days if you wish. It also works well pairing skirts/bare legs with high neck fitted jumpers and long sleeves.
4. Avoid logos and flashy items
Logos and flashy items can be distracting in a workplace, so it is important to be mindful of your clothes and accessories. Plus, depending on the nature of the corporate industry you’re working in, it can look inappropriate. Stick to a neutral or classic colour palette, and avoid metallics and loud pieces. For accessories, stick to understated pieces such as stud earrings or small drop earrings.
5. Get clothes fitted
Having clothes that fit you properly will flatter your body and also make you look more put together. You’ll feel so much better when you’re wearing well fitted clothing, boosting your confidence.
Whether you already have some pieces that need some adjusting or you are buying new pieces, bring them to a tailor to make sure that they fit you properly. When shopping for new job clothes or updates to your corporate wardrobe, just try to avoid anything that could looks ‘baggy’.
Always being put together and well-groomed is equally important to dressing well. Alongside this, you’ll find when you care more for your hair, skin and nails too, and keep your clothes pressed and in great shape, you’ll feel so much more ready for the day…