Whether you approve of it or not, people judge you by the way you dress. This is especially true in an office environment where striking a balance between professionalism and style is critical to your success.
Overdressing may be construed as trying too hard to make an impression whereas under-dressing can be interpreted as being too laid back.
Whether you desire to make an impression at your existing workplace or an interview at your dream organisation, your attire can say a lot about your confidence and personality. The rules of dressing in the corporate environment keep changing, making it tricky to decide what to wear to work each day.
Fortunately, we have decoded a few women’s work wear dress codes, enabling you to achieve that perfect corporate look that can make a lasting impression on your colleagues and seniors.
1.Know the Types of Corporate Dress Codes
To know which attire is acceptable in your organisation, it is critical to understand the four basic types of office dress codes.
a.Business Formal or Boardroom Attire
The business formal attire is preferred by people in the law profession or individuals who hold executive positions in an organisation. This attire can also be worn for important business meetings and conferences.
The attire comprises a well-fitting pantsuit or skirt in a neutral colour (black, navy, or grey) with a formal white shirt. Complement this attire with conservative accessories (a diamond stud or a leather watch) and closed-toe pump shoes.
This attire can be used to achieve a smart appearance at work each day. You can wear a neutral-coloured pantsuit or skirt, or an elegant Indian suit or sari. Choose closed-toe pumps that match your attire along with one statement piece of jewellery like a leather or steel watch and an elegant necklace.
Several organisations, especially startups are moving towards accepting the business casual attire, allowing their teams to exhibit their personality and preferences without looking shoddy.
A lady wearing business casuals can wear a skirt or pants with a cardigan, coloured shirt or kurta, or a dress with a jacket. Complement this attire with larger pieces of ornaments, flat shoes or closed-toe pumps, and a patterned scarf.
Though the casual dress code encourages you to be creative with your attire, it can be tricky to decide on the elements that convey casualness without looking sloppy.
If your organisation allows you to wear casuals, stick to clean, neatly-ironed, and well-fitting dresses or tops with skirts or pants. If jeans are permitted, always opt for the darker hues and avoid wearing the ones with cuts and gaudy graphics.
Peep-toe shoes or clean sneakers can be worn in a casual business environment along with chunky pieces of jewellery.
2.Research Your Industry Dress Code
Be curious about what other people in the industry are wearing. A few domains like law, hospitality or airline sectors have uniforms. If you belong to these sectors, it is wise to stick to the uniform dress code.
However, if you have the freedom to choose your work attire, it is best to research the industry dress code. Observe the colour palette, styles, and patterns your colleagues, seniors, and other people in the industry wear and put together your work wardrobe according to the explicit and implicit rules.
3.Dress for the Position You Desire
Are you aiming to be like your boss in the future? If yes, make a conscious effort to follow your senior’s wardrobe or dress sharper than him/her while creating your unique style.
Rich colours portray authority; so, if you want to feel confident and make a strong impression on your clients or seniors in a meeting, it is advisable you choose dark shades over lighter ones.
Your appearance is a reflection of your self-assurance and professionalism. Therefore, dress how you want to be addressed!
4.Avoid Provocative Outfits
Provocative outfits are not only inappropriate, but also send a wrong message to the people around you. Don’t show too much skin and make sure your clothes are not too tight or loose.
Secondly, choose a colour palette that’s not too attention-seeking. Hot pink, vermillion red, and neon shades are a strict no. You can never go wrong as long as you stick to conservative colours and patterns. Choose a dark colour palette for formal pants and suits and couple them with shirts and tops with pastel shades.
If you choose to wear a sari or salwar kameez, avoid wearing the ones that are showy or attract too much attention. Whether Western or Indian, workplace attire should be understated, yet classy.
5.Accessorise with Care
When it comes to accessories, opt for quality over quantity. Accessories are intended to complement your attire, not distract people at the workplace.
Choose delicate and smart accessories that make a statement without overpowering your formal outfit. It is wise to update your work wardrobe with a classy collection of bracelets and earrings that can elevate your look.
A watch is an important fashion accessory for every woman professional, exhibiting qualities such as trustworthiness and attention to detail. A stainless steel watch and the one with a leather strap are the most popular choices for modish women professionals.
When it comes to bags, leather purses are the best as they enable you to carry your belongings in style while making you look organised and pragmatic.
Pay attention to your footwear. Closed-toe and polished pump shoes work well with a variety of outfits and can be worn comfortably during long work hours.
Accessories can convey a lot about your personality and style; be extremely picky about them.
6.Follow the KISS Strategy for Makeup
Makeup is supposed to enhance your natural facial features, not attract undue attention.
When it comes to office makeup, Keep It Simple and Smart (KISS). Wear neutral lipstick shades that do not attract attention, yet look classy. Avoid using makeup elements that exaggerate your appearance. These include false eyelashes or an abundance of shimmering eye shadow.
Unless you work in the fashion or cosmetic industry, avoid experimenting with anything that’s too eye-catching.
Your work attire plays a critical role in differentiating you from your competition, putting you on the fast track to success. Thus, make a conscious effort to choose each element of your office wardrobe with utmost care.
Follow the easy guidelines shared in this article when dressing for work, attending an important business meeting or going for an important job interview.