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What to Wear to Work in the Office Environment

What to Wear to Work in the Office Environment is my way of celebrating Business Women’s Day.

Business Women’s Day is about honouring the increasing role that women play in the world of business today. While there is still work that needs to be done for women to have a level playing field, across industries and around the globe, attitudes are changing.

I’m celebrating ‘Business Women’s Day’ by focusing on the opportunity within how we dress and offering a few tips too.

Starting with familiar clichés that are associated with dressing for Work:

“Dress for Success”

“Dress for the job you want”

“Power Dressing”

But the real question is how do we interpret what power and success looks like in what we wear? And when it comes to dressing for what we want, can we be sure that our chosen ensembles portray our message to the observer?

Sharp suiting, pencil skirts, high heels, pointy shoulder pads and a strong air of 80’s fashion is what springs to my mind when I think Power Dressing. Line this look up against today’s reality of remote working, zoom fashion, and the rise of casual attire, and you are immediately forgiven for not knowing what on earth to wear to work, or even if our clothing choices actually do make any difference.

A little thought is required before we delve into finding some answers.

3 Thought-Tips:

1. Confidence is KEY: The key is making confident choices for YOU. You need to know that when you get dressed to start your workday ahead, you are wearing what makes you feel good, and visually represents how you want to be seen by others you encounter during the day.

2. Uniform RULES: The demise of dress codes and uniforms have given us freedom of choice to pretty much wear what we want. However, without boundaries, freedom becomes a jungle of choices and yet another responsibility we need to take ownership of as well as our jobs - which seamlessly leads me on to my final thought-tip.

3. OWN it: Literally make your own Dress-code rules. Decide what type of look is appropriate and functional as well as personally styled in a manner that represents you.

3 Action-Tips:

1. INSPIRATION: I suggest using two or more points of inspiration 1) Select what is currently working in your wardrobe 2)Create a digital folder or Pinterest board of women who's looks you like and inspire you 3)Keep a continual eye on favourite brands to see how long a look actually stays on trend in their marketing.

2. SMALL TWEAKS: Don’t think you have to perform a complete style-overhaul, you don’t. Just tweak one element at a time to gradually evolve your style. For example, footwear – if relaxed white sneakers or converse are not doing it for you anymore but comfort is what’s binding you to them, look for a flattish alternative – a soft white brogue, of subtle neutral toned textured snake print low block heel. The first step on from a casual trainer-type shoe but not even close to an 80’s stiletto. If shapeless jersey tops are feeling unexciting, replace with tops that have a bit of structure like a woven fabric front, or a mandarin collar - one step on from a long sleeve 't' but not a tailored shirt.

3. STICK TO IT: Be strong and confident and get used to your new change. Then add another one. Just one element at a time. When you get going the change will become quicker and easier. Be prepared to plateau, or even dip, especially at ends of season or unpredictable temperature, pause, then get back on track.

Progress your Work Wardrobe like you progress your Career

I mention evolving style. No need to completely change – let’s be honest, it wouldn’t feel like you – just form a habit of constantly tweaking and adding new pieces to existing, taking one element at a time from your inspiration images. Use filters on pre-loved shopping sites to find your new items and test the look before investing too much money. But remember to remove the older pieces that no longer excite you. If you don’t, you won’t see your forward progression of personal style, and easy to fall back into what you usually wear, and as those pieces get a bit tatty you will then be forced to replace in a hurry and that’s when style can become unstylish!

Here is my example of inspiration. Hannah looks so relaxed in her style, so I arrange to meet her to see for myself if she owned it.

She did.

The epitome of what she likes, regardless of trend or external expectation. Hannah loves a heel, likes to be feminine, but not overly formal, hence jeans still feature in her work attire.

Stylish Business Woman
Workplace Business Style @hmc_consultancy Photographer:


Re-read the above paragraph. Treat your Work Wardrobe as part of your job, and simultaneously develop your clothes collection as you develop your career. As your work life progresses or changes you learn more, become more experienced, take on different responsibility, welcome new colleagues, change position etc. Do the same with your clothes collection. The more you learn about how clothes can give you a confident coat-of-armour, the more experienced you will become at bringing in new garments, curating finished looks, interpreting inspiration, moving-out the old, and having that empowered look ready in your collection for your next meeting, presentation, or promotion interview.

Still unsure, or need a boost to get started?

Or perhaps you and your team would like me to visit your office?


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