We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. Regardless of the weight you may put on that notion, it can’t be denied that, whether it’s a job you’ve been at for over 10 years or an interview for your dream role, we are constantly being evaluated by those around us. There’s a case to say that without even realising it, most of us dress in a manner that reflects where we think we belong, be it for the good or the bad.
Some people relish the thought of getting dressed for work in the morning, whilst others (me) groan at the never-ending daily hassle. Having a decent selection of office outfit ideas when you don’t have a uniform to adhere to is about as tricky as a dress code could possibly get. Are you successfully teetering on that fine line between too smart and too casual? Throw in the fact that different industries and jobs have totally opposing expectations, as well as an increasingly evolving work culture, and the process can become a real psychological burden, and one we shouldn’t have to add onto the many challenges presented to us by the work itself. Even if you work in a relaxed or creative environment, there are still plenty of elements to consider, whether it’s keeping warm in a nippy air-conditioned office or looking appropriate for a post-work event. Ultimately, it all comes to down finding those winning combinations you can rely on time and time again.
With even higher stakes, choosing what to wear for a job interview can be a daunting task. No matter where you’re interviewing, I think it’s important to remember to never wear anything that doesn’t represent your style or who you are. When something really suits you, and you feel comfortable and relaxed, any level of confidence you exude reflects how you are likely to conduct yourself in many capacities. A common mistake that some people make is trying too hard to stand out and sacrificing professionalism as a result. Of course, every job will be different, but it’s important to strike an appropriate balance and ensure that you’re remembered for all the right reasons. It may be useful to consider that the people doing the hiring are probably likely, and even hardwired, to pick a candidate who is similar to themselves. It’s probably not a bad idea to do some research on the sort of people who may be your future colleagues and suss out their general vibe, including how they dress for work!
No matter what you do, and what your goals may be, always dress with intention and purpose.
Fling it over an arm for a ‘cool and confident’ vibe.
COLOUR PALETTE & PRINT
Depending on your job and environment, there may be some ensembles better suited to your needs than others, but softening the colour palette to neutrals is always a failsafe way to adhere to a stricter dress code. Toned down all-cream or beige looks always win on the sophistication front, no question.
If you want to shake things up a bit but still keep it professional, opt for a classic print like checks, stripes or polka dots. My personal staple has become a pair of checked tapered trousers; they’re a little more exciting than simple black trousers while still being appropriate, and easy to style with smart blouses and shoes.
SUITS & TAILORING
A black blazer is something that everyone should own. Not only does it work with practically every outfit, but if you end up feeling overdressed, then you can take it off, and fling it over an arm for a ‘cool and confident’ vibe. If you’re not sure about a full suit, then mix and match your textures, prints and colours instead. Chic tailored separates are always a good idea, especially when paired with stylish shoes and accessories.
Layering is key, especially when we’re talking about the cooler months. Layer a shirt or roll-neck under a pinafore summer dress, blouse or crew neck jumper for a simple yet perfectly put-together look.
Jumpsuits and boiler suits may be a new avenue to explore this year. When layered over elegant roll-necks and paired with smart shoes, they can lend themselves to a stylish yet appropriate tonal look, perfect for the spring chill.
ACCESSORIES & SHOES
It can often feel like there’s not much variation in bog-standard workwear outfits, but you can always opt for minor details that make you stand out and let your personality shine through. Add a hint of playfulness to slick tailoring with a pair of quirky shoes, or lift your ensemble with some classic jewellery; both fantastic ways to personalise any outfit.
It’s all well and good having an awesome outfit underneath, but in the cooler months, there’s an added pressure to ensure that your coat game is strong too. A lightweight trench coat for the spring or a checked tailored coat when you’re feeling a little more chilly – both are practical, stylish and bang on-trend.