PERSONAL STYLE IN A CORPORATE WORLD
Depending on the industry you work in and your affinity with that industry, dressing for work can be a challenge. When you then factor in your personal style and the differences in that style compared to your company culture you can have a minefield of complications.
In some businesses and indeed industries the dress code can be quite easy to follow with little room for variation, generally in a formal, corporate environments a wardrobe of classic dresses, two piece suits, different coloured shirt and tie combinations that you can mix and match will normally get you through the working week. If you are super stylish outside of work there are ways that you can add elements of your own individual style without moving away from what’s acceptable, a cool pair of shoes in different colours, some creative accessories that enhance the suit you’re wearing can be enough to help you express your individual taste, just in a slightly more subtle way.
When you move to more creative, stylish industries where they are very strongly led by the brands that they sell it’s important that you embrace this even in a corporate office environment. This is easy if your own personal style is creative, stylish and you love fashion but it can be difficult if your personal style is more formal. There are ways of making small changes to your outfits that can help you to look more stylish, this can be as simple as changing the shape of the trousers you normally wear, looking for different materials or fabrics maybe from stiff cotton shirts to something in a softer material or drape, changing your makeup look for a stronger slightly more relevant look.
What do you do if you’re transitioning from an industry you are familiar with to a completely different sector? For example financial services to fashion, the two couldn’t be further apart in terms of what you’d be expected to wear to fit in. However, you can still make this work for you but to completely ignore the differences would be foolish.
The best place to start is to familiarise yourself with the company dress code. If you are attending an interview don’t make the assumption that you should wear a suit, research the business, understand their culture and if you are working through a recruitment consultant ask them what you should wear. This isn’t superficial, it shows that you have done your homework and that you really want the role. It also gets you over the first hurdle because the interviewer starts to imagine you in that environment, it is one less thing for them to think about, your image helps you to have a greater or lesser impact at work.
If all of this sounds far too complicated don’t worry, it really doesn’t have to be, there are lots of ways you can make it easy for yourself. Creating a ‘capsule’ work wardrobe is one of the easiest things to do. Think of it as classic with a twist, flattering trousers in a relevant style and one that suits your shape, pencil skirts if they work for you can be amazing, a stylish jacket that you can mix and match with a number of different shirts, blouses and finally a selection of plain, good quality t’shirts.
You can get away with colour in your work wardrobe if the cut and style of the outfit is simple. So a bright dress could work, paired with a well cut jacket or fitted cardigan. Finally, accessorize, a great necklace or scarf can add interest to your outfit, a bright bag and some stylish shoes, oh and don’t forget that office commute! You may well think it’s sensible to walk to work in your trainers, but a little tip, take them off before you get to your desk.