Whether you find dressing for work a challenge to rise to or just a total bore, building a wardrobe packed with interchangeable pieces that are workwear appropriate is undoubtedly one of your best ways to make the right first impression.
Investing some time and thought into planning your office-appropriate outfits in advance is going to make a five-day working week feel like a doddle. The last thing you want to be thinking about when you’ve got an early start is what fashion statement pieces are office-friendly and creating the ideal outfit that perfectly represents your personality.
How to Dress for Work?
As the world of work continues to evolve, with more of us hotdesking and working from home than ever before, the way we dress for work is changing too. No longer are we all expected to wear suits in various shades of grey, black and navy. Office-appropriate outfits are becoming increasingly more informal with an emphasis on comfort, the latest fashions and providing us with an opportunity to express our unique style. This shift in the way we dress for work, therefore, throws up a host of questions, centering around an array of age-old fashion rules. If you’re struggling to decipher the right way to dress for your office job, we’re here to tell you which of these rules you can quite rightly ignore.
↓ 1 – Keep it neutral
Turn back time, and we used to believe that to be considered professional, it was essential to dress in neutral colours. The typical workwear wardrobe would have consisted of Navy suits, beige skirts, white blouses… You get the picture!
Don’t get us wrong, these colours are all great staples in any wardrobe, but we want to live life in full colour.
· To add a bit of vibrancy to your office attire, consider contrasting brightly coloured pieces with more neutral tones.
· Add a splash of colour with a pair of statement shoes or a scarf.
· Swap out your traditional grey pantsuit with one in a brighter colour.
Get more colourful workwear style tips in our guide to Outfits with Pink Skirts.
↓ 2 – Dress for the season
Seasonal outfits are vital if you want to stay cool in the summer and cosy throughout the winter months but if you’re anything like us, we always find it pretty sad to push our favourite outfits to the back of the wardrobe when the weather changes.
We’re not saying throw on you Christmas jumper during July or pop on your strappy sandals in a snowstorm, but there are plenty of ways to get more wears out of your favourite office outfits all year round.
· As temperatures drop, pair summer dresses with chunky jumpers, wool tights and stylish boots.
· Match cool wintry colours with tropical summer shades from yellow to green.
· Invest in seasonless pieces that will look great in the office all year round. We’re thinking A-line skirts, floaty blouses and palazzo trousers.
↓ 3 – Don’t go mixing patterns
Despite being a tricky one to master, when executed right, an outfit featuring two different patterns will never fail to give your office wardrobe that extra edge.
Let your personality shine and stand out from your colleagues by mastering these simple pattern wearing techniques:
· Start simple and pair a patterned piece of clothing with some patterned accessories. A striped shirt with a floral headband will work perfectly.
· Contrasting patterns will always look great together if you stick to items in the same or complementary colours.
· Break up patterns with block shades. A neutral coloured belt or stylish blazer is ideal.
For more pattern inspiration, check out our Printed Pants Outfits ideas.
↓ 4 – Stay away from clashing colours
When it comes to mixing colours as part of your office wardrobe, there are some traditional colour combination no-no’s that we want to embrace.
Rules were made to be broken, and we believe that these colours make for the chicest workwear outfits.
· Black and brown: With so many shades of brown to choose from add depth to an outfit when you pair it with your go-to black trousers.
· Khaki and red: It’s not your typical colour combo, which is why we love it. If you have a classic khaki trench coat, try wearing it with a red skirt or handbag.
· Black and navy: This combination may have once been considered unintentional but who cares! We think they look great together and make any easy go-to office outfit. Create a stylish look with a navy dress and compliment it with black heels.
If you struggle with colour combinations, use a colour wheel to help you match shades that are going to be office-friendly.
↓ 5 – Leggings are a big no
They might have once been considered inappropriate in a professional setting, but we have some clever tricks up our sleeve so that you can wear your favourite and super comfortable leggings to work.
It is, however, essential to consider the material of your leggings before you go rocking them at the office. Stay away from ones designed as gym-wear and maybe give the neon patterns a miss.
· Wear leggings under a knee-length dress.
· Combine your tight-fitting leggings with a long and loose-fitting blouse.
· Dress up your leggings with a pair of killer heels, some statement jewellery or a super slick blazer.
Get comfortable with the idea of wearing leggings to work with our outfit ideas for How to Wear Leggings Under A Dress.
↓ 6 – Sparkle is for special occasions
What’s the point of investing in a sequined top and sparkly accessories if you only get to wear them a handful of times?
With some smart pairing, you can easily incorporate some sparkle into your office wardrobe to give it the wow-factor. The most important point to remember is to stick to only one item of sparkle per outfit and compliment it with neutral and classic pieces.
· If you’re thinking sequins, the smaller, the better when it comes to workwear.
· Bring an outfit together when you pair a sparkly top with a skirt or trousers in a similar colour.
· Accessorise with some shimmer eyeshadow or a sparkly belt.
↓ 7 – Avoid mismatching accessories
If you are one for wearing mismatching socks, you are going to love throwing this tired fashion rule out the window.
Mis-matched accessories are on-trend and when kept simple can complete your plain and boring office attire.
Why not try:
· Stylish mismatched earrings.
· Animal print scrunchies are back, and they look great with a floral handbag.
· Polka dots pumps and a striped belt or scarf.
Not sure which accessories to mismatch as part of your office outfit? Discover our ultimate 2020 Fashion Accessories.
Now we’ve covered what fashion rules you can quite rightly wave goodbye to; you can focus on choosing a great selection of interchangeable pieces. All of which will keep you looking the part and most importantly, feeling great every single workweek. If there’s one way to complement any outfit, it’s by adding a spray of your favourite scent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Meheret Hailemelekot is a Marketing Assistant at Myer and has worked with such iconic Australians brands as Jetstar, Snooze, and UniSuper.