In the age of Silicon Valley and startups, business wear is no longer just primly tailored suits and shiny shoes. Hoodies, turtlenecks, and jeans are now acceptable in some industries and offices, but there are still rules that should be followed to make sure you feel confident and are perceived as a professional in your field.
Dress for the Event
Even if your standard office dress code is pretty casual, be mindful of what you’ll be doing each day, and consider whether or not a t-shirt is appropriate. Addressing a large crowd, visiting a client on-site, or conducting a job interview are examples of times when you might want to take your wardrobe up a notch. Luckily, these days clothing retailers are familiar with the modern worker’s desire for comfort, so business attire needn’t be constricting and stiff. Whatever your personal style preferences, it should be possible for you to find outfits that help you to look and feel confident in all situations.
Create a Personal Style Guide
While a dress code will give you direction in choosing what to wear to work, this doesn’t mean that you can’t inject some of your own personality into your ensembles. The strictness of your company’s guidelines will definitely come into play here, but there’s always room for personalization, and including this can even help your job performance!
Feeling comfortable and confident is integral to success, and it all starts with what you’re wearing. If your organization’s dress code is formal, look for colors and cuts that compliment you and make you feel powerful. Include small details like pocket squares, scarves, and jewelry that help you to feel like “you.”
For those offices with a more relaxed approach to attire, the possibilities for personalization are nearly endless.
In either case, consider creating a document that lists colors, cuts, and fabrics that you prefer, as well as those you would rather avoid. Keep track of specific details or pieces that really boost your confidence, and whenever you need an outfit that gives you a little something extra, refer to your lists for guidance and inspiration.
Keep Up With Clothing Maintenance
Loose stitches, holes, wrinkles, and dropped hems can sully the impact of even the nicest outfit, so imagine what they can do for your more informal clothes! While ripped jeans may be en-vogue for streetwear, even casual workwear needs standards, and proper maintenance is a good starting point.
Bleach pens can help with minor stains, and an iron to smooth out wrinkles can go a long way towards restoring an outfit. Sewing kits can be purchased cheaply, and there are unlimited Youtube videos that will teach you how to perform basic upkeep (although it’s a good idea to practice on a less-loved piece first). If you’re not so much of a DIY-er, consider a local tailor to mend your clothes and a leather-worker to maintain shoes, belts, and bags.
Keep Up With Personal Hygiene
Whether your office requires a three-piece suit or is happy to see you in jeans, there is one standard you’ll find in all workplaces – a requirement for proper hygiene. Ensuring that your clothes and person are in a presentable state indicates that you take care of yourself, and projects to clients, colleagues, and superiors that you also care about your work.
“The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” – Dale Carnegie