Are you in love with workwear, or do you feel stifled by dress codes, whether implied or explicitly stated? Whatever your thoughts on workwear are, one thing is for sure: clothing is so, so crucial to an individual’s confidence and performance. It can be difficult to give your career everything you’ve got if you aren’t happy with how you look.
If you’ve only just started transitioning from casual wear to workwear, you may feel as lost as Jennifer Garner does in 13 Going On 30. The good news is that it’s possible to work your style into your workwear using some of the following tips.
Build On Your Usual Style
The best workwear outfit is not only sophisticated and polished but also personalized with a hint of what makes you “you.” That way, you can feel comfortable in your skin while also looking grown-up and professional.
To choose the best workwear for you, start by looking at the formal things you have in your closet: the Sunday dresses, the wow-worthy jumpsuits, and the outfits you’d “meet the parents” in. Even if they’re not necessarily work-friendly, these slightly dressier options will give you a starting point from which to explore your workwear options.
Choose A Style Icon
Well-dressed celebrities are an excellent springboard for your style, and that’s true for workwear as well. There are plenty of impressive women in the public eye that dress in professional-looking clothing. If Jackie O’s classic, powerful and feminine look is your source of inspiration, for instance, then start with basic blouses and wide-leg trousers as well as modest work dresses. If you love Taylor Swift’s girly, polished look, then begin with chic heels, then pair a cute blouse with a bright, knee-length, A-line skirt, and take the opportunity to work some fun prints into your outfit as well. If you want a more relaxed look that brims with fashion personality, draw inspiration from street style icons such as Chloe Sévigny. Borrow a “fashion formula” that works for you, then choose pieces from your closet to fit them.
Find Your Blazer
Blazers are a versatile item and a must-have for any workwear closet. Not only are they super-professional, but they also come in all shapes, colors, and sizes! You could stick to a regular, fitted navy or black blazer, or you could find blazers that are totally you. If your workplace allows jeans, for instance, then a blazer is an instant way to transform your t-shirt and jeans into a stylin’ work outfit! To deviate from the norm, look for wool, velvet, and other trendy, comfortable fabrics, as well as stunning colors (pink!) and prints. Pair an oversized, vintage-style blazer or a jacket with embroidered details with some wide-leg pants for a work outfit that belongs on the runway.
Find Your Shoes
No matter how strict a company’s dress code is, you’ll always get to have a little fun choosing your work shoes. You may not have looked forward to wearing a pantsuit when you were a kid, but you definitely looked forward to wearing heels and other fancy shoes! Use workwear as an excuse to pick up some killer pointed heels, some cute booties, or some loafers. Shoes are your chance to experiment with your style and add a little magic to your outfit.
Use Accessories To Show Off Your Style
Accessories are probably the best way for you to work your style into your workwear. If you have a classy and understated style, wearing a monogrammed necklace every day will give you a signature “thing” and even make you approachable and fun. If you’re a vibrant person who loves color, then learn about all the different ways to tie a silk scarf and get collecting or jazz up your look with a fun statement ring or necklace! While you don’t want to wear too many accessories to work, you can always work in a cute belt, watch, brooch, scarf, or even socks to your outfit.
And of course, you’ll also need a show-stopping purse. Invest in a good one that fits all of your work stuff and goes with EVERY work outfit. Roomy tote-style bags are just perfect for work, and they come in every color and design imaginable. When it comes to purses, go all out. A power-purse will be your work companion for years to come.
Love Your Workwear
Most importantly, build a workwear collection that you 100% love. Creating a professional closet is a chance to expand your driven, professional, hard-as-nails side. Who knows – maybe you’ll start wearing that perfect blazer on your days off, too!
Constante is a fashion writer and content strategist. He specializes in collaborative branding efforts with up-and-coming designers and fashion companies.