Updated: Jan 29
While there isn't a 'one size fits all' approach to dressing for work, there are some simple rules which you can follow to ensure your appearance is as sharp as your performance.
1. The first thing you need to know is what standard of dressing is required and desired in the company?
Organisations want people that fit in with the general character and culture of the business. So whether it’s a more conservative look (i.e. insurance, law, finance, banking) or something that accepts more casual and creative clothing (such as retail, entertainment, advertising), know the business you are in, or want to break into.
2. Blue is the most universally liked colour, and in business it is the safest colour to wear and indicates confidence and reliability. It's also a versatile base colour that can be utilised with other more playful colours, such as purple or red, or neutrals such as cream or white for an elegant look.
3. Find the right balance for your office, between comfort, well-dressed and modern, without being ultra-modern, which can send a message of superficiality or of being non-serious. Make slight adjustments to modernize an office look, such as garments with modern silhouettes which can be incorporated with more classic items.
4. Wear colours that flatter you and then add neutrals, such as white, black, or grey. The colours of your handbag and shoes don’t need to match your outfit exactly, but it's important that they are well considered, and combine in a harmonious way with your outfit.
5. Beware of loud and overly bright patterns on clothes which are distracting and appear un-professional. Instead, opt for subtle prints and combinations. Smooth textures and fabrics will appear neater and more business-like.
6. Avoid over-sized and complicated jewellery or too many bracelets/rings. For corporate looks, smaller and simpler is better. One beautiful accessory which defines your style will give you a more professional and polished look.
7. Keep nails and hair well groomed and maintained, and makeup on the more natural side. You can use a red lipstick (or bright/dark pink) but keep in mind that the colour in you makeup acts as another accessory, just like a dark/bright nail polish, so it's important to assess your entire look to avoid looking overdone.
8. When you have a meeting, keep in mind that everything you use (pen, notebook, phone etc.) is also sending a message about you, just as your clothes are.