So you’ve landed your dream job and are about to embark on your career. But, what do you wear? How do you navigate the work wardrobe but still express yourself and not feel like a corporate sellout?
If you’re one of the unlucky ones with a job that has a set uniform or a strict professional dress code, then aside from keeping your pastel purple hair color or allowing your tattoos to peek out; there’s probably not a lot you can do. But if the dress code is open to interpretation, there are lots of ways that you can still look professional and tidy, without giving up what makes you unique.
Photo courtesy of Petite Death
Many jobs these days are becoming more relaxed about suitable attire in the workplace; piercings, tattoos and variants on the suit are becoming more common, as is the 'smart-casual' dress code (what does that even mean?) Jeans are becoming more common place, for both men and women, though some corporate offices will still expect you to wear something resembling a *gasp* suit.
If you’re unsure of what you can get away with, look around and see what the rest of your colleagues are wearing, and keep in mind what you wore to the interview. If they hired you while aware that you had 20 visible piercings and some wicked tattoos, then you can most likely continue to wear these. But if you took them out, and covered up, start slow; keep your jewelry subtle and your clothing neutral. Begin adding hints of your own style as each day passes. Your boss will let you know when you cross the line.
Most importantly, be a good employee and make yourself invaluable. If you do your job well and keep your work habits above reproach, you’ll be able to get away with a little more in the wardrobe department than if your work is sloppy, you’re constantly late, and you alienate your co-workers.
Add an unexpected layer
A sports jacket or a tailored blazer is a great staple to have for your work wardrobe. Find one with subtle accents that make it unique and not boring. Look for a piece that incorporates studs, an unusual fabric, or an unexpected length. Wear it over a simple dress or a layered with a collared shirt and straight black pants and you’re good to go.
Find an unusual twist for a classic shirt
Need to wear a collared shirt, but the thought of white with a pinstripe making your skin crawl? You can find some great button-up collared shirts that won’t make you want to puke, and still impress your boss. Find a shirt with a unique fabric, print, or unusual button material.
Look for retro office attire
Pencil skirts were once a staple of the corporate wardrobe, but they are now considered retro and can be a fun choice for standing out in an office setting. Style your pencil skirt with a demure short-sleeved white shirt tucked in to accentuate your curves. Finish the look with a cute patterned cardigan and kitten pump heels.
Shoes and accessories are an easy way to add style
If your workplace is a little more strict, and you have little play-room with your clothing choices, accessories like earrings, necklaces, or even belt buckles can make a great addition to your wardrobe. If you only have one or two ways to show your individuality through your wardrobe, using a key piece to make a statement is a good way to go.
Another item where you can generally mix it up a bit without too much of a chance at repercussions is footwear. You’ll often hear advice on how important footwear is and it is important for them to look neat, clean and in good repair. A scuffed shoe with an otherwise impeccable outfit shows a lack of care, which impresses no one. This doesn’t mean your footwear needs to be boring. Just make sure they suit the rest of your outfit, and that they’re comfortable!
And to pull it all together, a fantastic pair of printed tights can really go a long way. I would recommend staying away from fishnets but depending on the rest of your outfit, there is room to play. Just be prepared for the jealous glances other women in the workplace will send your way.
Photo courtesy of Phicto
Do you have any ideas that you would like to share? Share your suggestions in the comment section below!