How I bring personal style to the office without a trip to HR
You may have noticed, but I take the art of dressing very seriously. Selecting an outfit each morning is somewhat of a sacred ritual for me, a chance to push my creativity and have some fun. So when 5/7 days a week are dictated by an office dress code, you can bet I’m not going to let that get in the way of my vibe.
It’s taken me a while to build up the confidence to show off my personal style in the office (read about my fears of dressing too fashion-y for my corporate job here), but I’ve gradually learnt how to stay true to myself without being summoned to HR.
Know your silhouette
What’s the one thing all workwear style icons have in common? They know what works for them, and they stick to it. Anna Wintour has her shift dresses, Diane von Furstenberg has her wrap dresses. I work with a girl (hi Emily) who has a fabuleuse collection of A line mini skirts that she pairs with various tops, and it works so well for her. Once you find that magic piece that makes you feel and look amazing, source it out in different colours, patterns, fabrics.
For me, it’s power dresses. A sharply tailored, sleek number that oozes ‘I know what I’m talking about’. ‘Power dresses’ form the basis of my work wardrobe and this colour block variation is the latest addition to my collection – it fits like a dream and best of all, has pockets!
Thou shalt accessorise
Never underestimate the power of accessorising.
A statement necklace can take a smart dress from corporate to catwalk. A printed scarf can take the humble trousers-and-top combo to new heights.
As I’ve mentioned before, this year has been all about the statement earring for me and I love these tassels to add a little fun to an otherwise clean and clinical outfit. And they’re not strictly an accessory, but a bold blazer or jacket is a good way to add personality to an outfit.
Keep it modest
By all means stay true to your style at work, but save the bare midriffs for the weekend. Obviously the amount of skin you show has no direct correlation with your ability to do your job well, but the office is still the office, and it’s best to maintain a certain level of conservativeness. As a general rule of thumb, hemlines shouldn’t be any higher than a biro’s length above the knee. This particular dress has quite a low back, so I just wear a black vest top underneath.