The new year is here and it’s the perfect time to embrace change. If you’re thinking about grabbing a promotion, changing job or starting a new career entirely, now is the time. If your expectation of 2019 involves shifts that drag and bosses that nag, then do something about it. Get that new job or a bag a promotion.There is no reason you can’t be winning at work this year, so we’re here to help.
You only ever have one opportunity to make a first impression. Whilst this might not be new advice (in fact, you’ve probably heard it a hundred times before), it is advice that remains true. According to Business Insider, “the “first impression” is actually only a seven second window upon first meeting someone.” – that’s fast! Your first impression is a mix of everything from appearance to personality and general energy. It’s putting yourself into a situation whilst projecting certain standard or expectation. If you’re not absolutely nailing that crucial moment, well, you’re only doing yourself a disservice.
We’re not experts in hand shaking or reciting CVs, but we can help you find the perfect workwear style. Whilst personal appearance might seem like a minor detail, it’s really a crucial factor in making a good impression. How you dress and present yourself is a key indicator of who you are as a person, your likes and dislikes, how you operate in the workplace. Even if you’ve already bagged your dream job, the way you dress still says a lot about you as an individual – why not be the best dressed version of yourself?
Here are our top tips for nailing workplace dressing:
- Fake it until you make it / dress for the career you want, not the job you have
The best thing you can project in an interview or the workplace is confidence. We’re not talking about being the loudest voice in the room, but the kind of quiet confidence that shows you know exactly what you’re doing. Dressing in a way which shows that you take your role seriously is key. Who would you trust more: a doctor who is smartly dressed and well groomed, or one who looks as though they’ve grabbed something out of the top of their laundry basket? A well dressed doctor doesn’t need a white coat or stethoscope to get you to respect their opinion. This might be purely psychological, but it’s true.
Obviously the type of clothes you wear to work depends entirely on the job you have/or want – not everybody works in a formal office environment. However, if you want to be a boss one day, dress like a boss. If that means running a salon, dress in a manner that befits the owner. If your uniform has to be entirely black, then make sure your choices fit properly (more on this later), are appropriate for your work environment and look as though you have put thought into picking and pairing them. Clothes don’t need to expensive, just taken care of and chosen wisely.
For a formal office environment you can never go wrong with tailored trousers, a good quality shirt and formal shoes such as brogues, pointed ballet flats or low heels. If your office has a more laid back feel, swap the trousers for jeans and the shoes for smart (non gym) trainers. Wrap dresses are a classic option regardless of where you work.
For those not based in an office, black jeans and a smart knit are a great workwear option.
- Don’t compromise your unique personal style
Wherever you work, you should still feel unique. There is nothing more boring than seeing an office where everyone is dressed exactly the same, it’s completely uninspiring. If you dress nearly identically to your colleagues then you’ve lost something which helps you to stand out from the rest – this puts you at a disadvantage, regardless of how minor.
If you like bold colours and prints then make sure that they are an aspect of your outfit. Nothing says conversation starter like an eye catching shirt or interesting accessory. If you love bold clothes but work in finance you might feel out of place wearing head to foot leopard print. However, a quirky shirt and fitted trousers are a winning combination for both you and the dress code. Alternatively, wear a bold skirt and a plain top. More of a minimalist? Colour block with separate black and white pieces for a monochrome look. Shirt dresses are a great option for everyone from teachers to hairdressers – dress them up with heels, then add flats when you’ve got to do a long shift on your feet. These shirt dresses from Dancing Leopard come in a great range of patterns and prints.
Dressing uniquely doesn’t have to be in your face to effective. Something as simple as a necklace you love or a pair of shoes you can’t take off will do the trick.
- Everyday attire VS. the big presentation
At a job interview it is better to be overdressed than underdressed, after all, you want it to look like you’ve made an effort. The same goes for events that rank crucially in your work life – important meetings, presentations and reviews. You want (and need) your outfit to look as though thought was put into it, but you don’t want it to distract from what you’re saying.
Combine formal dressing (dependent on your place of work) with classic styles to create a look which will boost your confidence and create positive perception from others. Blazers never go out of style, neither do tailored trousers. Prints are fine, but save your brightest and boldest for another occasion. You want people to be talking about what you said, not your shirt. Polka dots are a great choice, as are stripes. Details such as pussy bows, high necks and fluted sleeves all add an interesting feature without being overwhelming.
On a regular old working day you can be slightly more free with what you’re wearing and even dress slightly more casually. Save the big guns for when it matters the most. Comfort is essential wherever you work, so don’t wear heels if you have to carry things around or anything tight across your middle if you spend a good portion of the day sitting.
- It’s all about the fit
You can have the most beautiful and expensive dress in the world, but if it doesn’t fit properly you may as well wear a potato sack. Ill fitting clothes are the same as bad clothes – they do absolutely nothing for you. Outfits that are too small or too big give the impression that you don’t really care, and not in a rebel without a cause kind of way.
We’re not all millionaires who can have a tailor on speed dial, and we’re all guilty of being busy; but a needle, thread and ten minutes can make a huge difference. Very few people are the exact right shape to fit mass produced clothes perfectly, and whilst lots of retailers factor this into designs, everyone can benefit from some tailoring skills. Nothing says chic like a perfectly fitting two piece suit, whatever your gender is. Jeans and trousers that are too long for you are quick to fix, you can even hem them with tape if you don’t fancy sewing. Youtube is a gold mine for learning how to alter clothes to fit.
Do not make the mistake that many of us do by buying clothes in the size that we once were, but currently are not. If it’s even slightly too tight it won’t be flattering and it will certainly be uncomfortable. If it’s too baggy it might be comfortable but it still won’t be flattering. The only person who sees your clothes label is you, and the number on it really doesn’t matter, so pick pieces that truly fit.
If the fit of clothes is an area that you are unsure about, there are many online guides to give you a helping hand.
The main points
Picking outfits for work should be about creating the best dressed version of yourself. You don’t need a lot of money or time to be the most presentable you can be. Dressing well for work implies that you take your job seriously and are confident in your abilities and the environment in which you work. If you wear clothes that you absolutely love, that fit properly and are appropriate for your workplace, then you have already nailed it.