Building a Remixable Work Wardrobe Series Part 2; Determine your Style

January 20, 2014

So once you know where you are starting from, whether it is from scratch or you have a foundation of work clothing to build  upon, you next need to figure out HOW you want to dress.

When it comes to dressing for a work environment there are two factors you need to consider. First you should understand what is appropriate for your particular workplace and then incorporate this into your personal style.

How do I figure out what is work appropriate for my office?

The first thing I would do is read the Corporate Dress Code for your company. Many of these will tell you things about skirt lengths, tightness of clothing and low cut blouses.

Another thing to consider is the industry or department in which you work. Traditionally finance and legal professions are more buttoned down and conservative than more creative fields like Marketing and Fashion.

But the best way to really understand what is work appropriate is to look at your co-workers, especially those who are in positions above yours.

What is comes down to is where should your outfits lie on the spectrum of conservatism. Think of this as a range of dress from Old Order Mennonite to LA Street Walker. Somewhere on this spectrum are outfits you should be wearing to your office. Ok, yes this is a big range made for dramatic effect. When it comes to office looks it is actually a much smaller range. what is work appropriate, work outfits, office style, business casualOutfits from most conservative to least: 1/2/3/4/5/6

Should you be wearing suits every day? Just to meetings? Business Casual? Or some sort of funky dressed up casual hybrid? If you work for yourself ask yourself what do your clients expect? You might be able to get away with being a total slob in your office if you aren’t going to see anyone all day but the impression you make with your style does matter. Whether it is right or wrong, people make snap judgements about your professionalism based on what you wear. Don’t give them a chance to get the wrong impression by not dressing the part.

Once you have a good idea of what is work appropriate next you have to nail down your style.

How do I determine my style?

These are the outfits that make you feel awesome when you wear them. They are not necessarily what you feel comfortable in (I feel comfortable in sweatpants but they don’t make me feel awesome) but the ones that make you feel confident, fierce. I am in no way saying you should be uncomfortable, but these clothes should be doing more for you than simply providing comfort.

The best thing I did for my style was to start using Pinterest. Or rather to consult these pins when I was out shopping. It makes me rethink impulse buys and keeps me from buying things that don’t go with anything else in my closet, especially if I am looking to emulate a particular look.

Start pinning, whether you pin by colour or season or whatever. Then review the pins and look for common themes. Are you into preppy looks? Edgy? European? Are you into more feminine girly looks? Or more menswear inspired looks?

modern work outfits, business casualOutfits on my Pinterest Board (sources 1/2/3/4/5)

Understanding what you style like will allow you to incorporate this into what is appropriate to create a work wardrobe you will be excited to put on each morning instead of one that you feel is boring. You want to start your workday in the best way possible. Loving your work wardrobe can make your work day infinitely better.