The word Corporate Dressing these days really can mean anything. So many businesses that would have been a suit only affair now have more relaxed dress codes which can be even more difficult to navigate.
One client earlier this year wanted to overhaul her wardrobe as she was on track to become a Partner and felt that her style did not speak to who she wanted to be perceived as. A word that she used to describe herself was ‘Mumsy’. Having two boys at home and working full time with one day at home, meant the need to juggle between all of her demands, so the wardrobe we needed had to be; professional, comfortable, stylish and versatile.
When we talk about versatile think how you can make a few changes when you arrive home to then be able to go out for dinner or take the children to their after school sports activities without having to change your entire look.
If you no longer need to wear a full suit and you do not want to replace everything in the wardrobe, as there is most likely no need to do that, consider all of the mix and match options you could do. Key basics will be your saving grace; black pants, blazer, knitwear, pencil skirt, white shirt, plain tee’s (short/long sleeve) are a great place to start.
For example - wear your black suit pants and instead of wearing the matching jacket - still look professional by pairing this with a fitted shirt and v-neck knit over the top. Another option is wearing the corporate style dress and wearing a long line cardigan, cinched at the waist with a belt.
Casual Friday can be the hardest day to dress for. Today it seems anything goes - I really have seen all types of outfits appear in the workplace when I am not sure they should actually be worn outside the home - think ripped track pants, tee’s with inappropriate language - you get my drift. To dress down and still look the part - a pair of quality ponte pants, knee length boots, unstructured blazer and printed blouse can do the trick for the cooler months and in the warmer months try a maxi dress, wedges or heels, belted with either a cropped jacket or cardigan.
The other difficulty that can arise is remaining feminine in the masculine corporate world. It can be easy to stay in the darker colour pant suits instead of taking calculated risks and remembering you can still look like a professional woman in more feminine attire. Great examples of this are two characters from TV land - Alicia Florrick played by Julia Marguiles in The Good Wife and Olivia Pope played by Kerry Washington in Scandal. The key here is the detail - variation from the stock/standard suit and playing with colour, print and accessories that are not too bold or flashy.
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