• Lucy

Returning Back to the Office and Not Sure What to Wear?

Updated: Jan 29

Here's what you need to know about dressing for work in 2021.

In 2020, I was helping clients perfect waist-up dressing and warning of the dangers that lay in wearing leggings and slippers 5 days a week.

Now, as employees start to head back to the office, there seems to be a push to maintain at least some of that work from home casual vibe, and companies appear to be more flexible with what workers wear post pandemic.

Last week, I ran a poll on LinkedIn asking people if their workplace was now more casual.

A massive 55% said yes.

Even in traditional banks old school corporate attire has taken a backseat, but while this may be welcome news for some, it poses the question, what on earth should you wear to the office in 2021?

Look Around

Before you make a radical change to what you wore pre-pandemic, you'll want to get a good sense of what people at your workplace are now wearing and where and how you want to fit in.

Take a look at your colleagues as well as the senior leaders in the business. If your team's attire has shifted to something more casual, but your Manager's hasn't, think about how you'd like your clothing to position you, as well as how you want to look and feel at work.

Whatever you choose, going more casual doesn't mean sloppy, so keep your leggings and sweatpants reserved for outside work.

Your overall look should still be smart and well groomed.

Assess Your Wardrobe

When you don't have the right things in your wardrobe, you end up wasting even more energy and time worrying about what to wear. And rather than your clothes enhancing your life and supporting you, they become time suckers and energy drainers.

So whether you're opting for more relaxed outfits, or are ready to get back into your tailored pieces, the next step is to assess your current wardrobe. Have a look at all your items and how to get rid of anything that doesn't support the way you want to look and feel in your clothes from now on. Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  • Does this item still fit me well?

  • Is the item flattering for my colour, shape and personality?

  • Does the item work for my professional life moving forward (does it support the style/persona I want to project)?

Get Organised

Standing in front of your closet every morning wondering what to wear is no way to start the day.

If you want a truly Zen-like beginning to each day, you need to make your wardrobe a sacred space, and the best way to do that is by getting organised.

  • Group garments by category - it's far easier to create outfits when you have all your pants / tops / dresses etc. together

  • Arrange garments in each category according to colour, starting with dark to light neutrals, followed by colours dark to light. Printed or patterned garments go in their dominant color.

  • Ensure all your clothes and hangers face the same way

  • If you'd like to take it a step further, use flocked velvet hangers (I love these ones)

Stand Back and Assess Again

Standing in front of your wardrobe, look at whether the items hanging there make sense for you. If you have five pairs of black corporate pants and two tops, your outfit combinations are incredibly limited.

On the other hand, five pairs of pants in different neutrals and a few different styles combined with five blouses gives you a huge amount to play with.

When assessing your wardrobe this time, you need to consider how many Foundation/Core Pieces you have as well as Accent Pieces.

  • Foundation Pieces are the building blocks for outfits - items such as staple pants, tops, shirts, blazers etc. that you can easily mix. Foundation pieces work best when they are in your best neutrals or one of your best colors that can function like a neutral.

  • Accent Pieces are what helps to add your own flavor and personality to your outfits - items such as colored or printed tops, skirts or pants featuring an interesting design or detail or something in fashion.

Fill The Gaps

If you've done the above two steps, you should have an organised wardrobe filled with only the items that deserve to be there. Noting the style of dress that you'd like to have at work, consider if there are gaps that you need to fill.

This may be as simple as adding a couple of relaxed, longline blazers in your core colors instead of always pairing structured blazers with your outfits.

Or it could mean investing in some quality, classic casual pieces that you can wear to the office as well as outside of the workplace.

If you put in the time and effort, you can improve your personal style yourself, but if you'd like to fast track that process and have an expert quickly help you update or refine your style and confidence, book in a time to chat with me.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexel


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