Updated: May 30
Whatever environment we work in, we should be made to feel empowered at work, so when we arrive dressed for work, we feel confident and ready to tackle the day ahead. But what about our dress code? Why is our dress code so important? and why do so many people get the dress code wrong?
Years ago I interviewed a young architect who arrived at the first stage interview in a long black crushed velvet ballgown with layers upon layers of theatrical tulle gathered around the waistline. As the young lady entered the interview room the tulle from the waist of the ballgown caught on the edge of the interview seat, which was not the most comfortable start to an interview. A ballgown simply does not work in a minimal design environment. It is not practical and it does not represent the clean clear thinking of an architectural designer. Do not judge a book by its cover Easier said than done, another metaphorical phrase meaning, in theory, we think it is difficult to actually do. While we should not prejudge the worth or value of something or someone by its outward appearance alone, we as humans judge naturally, but it is what we do with our judgement is a choice. Okay, so the young lady at the interview dressed very inappropriately for a day time architectural interview. Her ballgown was not practical for an architectural design environment, so putting her outward appearance aside we proceeded with the interview like any other interview. A Lawyer working in a bank will dress slightly differently to a lawyer working in a media company. A director working in an estate agent will dress differently than a director working in a science laboratory. Every working environment is different, which is why there is so much confusion about what to wear for work or in an interview. If you are unsure, have a good think about the environment in which you work. Often a company marketing campaign will set the tone for the office dress code. WWU (work wardrobe update) is one of the most popular personal shopping requests as it is important to feel confident and empowered during a public speech or company presentation. Whether you work in a formal or informal work environment there are just two dress-code rules to empower you at work; Maintain the highest standard of personal presentation: Make an effort to groom. Clean hair, a fresh face, a trimmed beard, clean, ironed clothes, clean shoes and if your working environment allows, clean, fresh make-up. These simple basics show you take pride in your appearance and in your profession. Always dress for business: Your working environment will dictate what you wear for work. It can be confusing as there are mixed dress codes across a lot of formal (corporate) and informal (creative) offices. 1. Corporate companies = Formal business attire
(Banking | Legal | Teaching | Politics | Public Speaking | Press)
Good quality tailored suits, no-frill blouses, shirts, knee-length skirts, quality shift dresses, crisp tailored shirts, clean un-scuffed shoes, clothing that fits your frame correctly. If you are confident, power-dress in strong bold colours. If you need help and you are bored wearing the same old black trousers and a top then book an appointment with a Personal Shopper.
2. Creative companies = Informal smart/casual
(Design | Media | Marketing | Arts I Music)
Being yourself is usually widely encouraged in a creative company. Although this is why so many people get it wrong. Employees often make the mistake of being too casual in a smart-casual environment. Remember, you still need to iron your clothes and maintain personal presentation. Save cheap ripped jeans and narcissistic slogans T-shirts for outside of the office. Although some ripped jeans might work, it will depend upon how informal your working environment is. Think practically. Avoid short skirts, low tops, see-through tops because it doesn't matter where you work, sexy revealing clothes don't work in a professional formal or informal work environment. What to wear for work in the summer
During the summer months or if you live in a hot climate, dressing for work can be challenging. It is hot and sticky but you do not want to turn up for work looking like you rolled off the beach. Whether you work in an informal or formal working environment, simply find an alternative light-weight fabric, this is all you need to do during the hotter months fo the year.In the UK flip-flops are banned from most formal or informal working environments. Simply because they are deemed a health and safety hazard. It may sound OTT but flip-flops are designed for the beach and no one wants to hear people flip-flopping-the-flip-flop into work. The employees featured in the photograph above have all correctly executed No.2 perfectly. Theyw ork in a informal-smart-casual work place where everyone on the photograph is groomed, looking sharp, clean and keen to be in work. Think practically, identify whether your workplace is formal or informal and confidently wear what makes you feel comfortable and confiden. For more informative insights on shopping, fashion and sustainability subscribe to my blog here.