Traditional corporate dress codes no longer cut it in big business – uniformity will only take you so far. Today, making your voice heard is a much about how you present yourself as your work.
Don’t be afraid of colour
Shades of camel and cobalt are the new black for the boardroom. Traditional black and slate can look tired unless reimagined in a fresh silhouette. Conventional two-piece suits, however, are brought back to life in autumnal shades of sand and brick and earthy blues. Use a pop of colour to distinguish yourself from your black and grey-suited colleagues. When you have someone’s visual attention, they are more likely to listen.
Rethink the pencil skirt
It’s so closely associated with corporate culture that a pencil skirt can look generic in the office. Elevate your look by choosing a midi, wrap or A-line skirt instead. An interesting cut or a slightly different silhouette suggests a considered approach to how you dress,and infers a similar approach to how you work.
An A line skirt is professional but feminine and will add personality to your look.
Embrace your femininity
The days of having to look like a man to be taken seriously are long gone. Sharp lines and clean cuts can benefit from a discreet frill or a small flounce. Add a feminine flourish to your workwear by substituting a traditional button-front shirt with something softer – a lace trimmed camisole or pussy bow blouse.
1 Lace detail blouse, €80 at Laura Ashley 2 Lace-trim satin top, Dolce & Gabbana, €795 at Brown Thomas 3 Lace collar blouse, Suncoo, €90 at BT2 4 Tie-front blouse, Mantú, €588 at Emporium Kalu 5 Textured frill sleeve top, €30 at mandco.com
Experiment with an alternative two-piece
There’s more to office attire than a conventional suit. Mix it up by opting for an elegant tunic over trousers instead. It’s tailored, smart, but has personality, and personality is key to making your voice heard in a modern working environment.
Make print work for you
Wearing print head to toe works if you keep your silhouette neat and the colourway muted and unified – don’t mix shades of blue with shades of burgundy for instance, stick to one or the other. Balance the statement nature of this look with something ultra-conservative like a turtleneck, or opt for a print dress instead. Choose a conservative-style shirt or wrap dress to offset a bold print.
Lean in and look fearless in a bold print. It suggests you’re as confident about your work as you are about your wardrobe.
Outwear needs an edge
The quickest way to ruin a good impression you’ve made with your updated office attire? Throw a bad coat on over an exquisite suit. It shows a lack of attention to detail and a half-hearted approach – not traits anyone wants to be associated with. People notice small things, sometimes pointedly, other times subconsciously, but they notice all the same.
Give flats a chance
Many women feel disempowered when they ditch their high heels, but often this is because they’re wearing the wrong style of flat. Ballet flats are too flimsy and girlish looking for the office. Opt for something with more substance to it, like a modern loafer or a lace-up brogue.