It’s quite a balancing act to successfully build a wardrobe that suits your needs for work, casual and formal. You may hate it but having a uniform for work is a godsend because it takes choice out of the equation and you can concentrate on your non-work collection. If, however, your workwear is entirely your choice, I’m sure you identify with the millions of women who wake up every morning and wonder what to wear today. There are some simple rules if you want to dress for success today, and every day.
According to Coco Chanel, who practically wrote the commandments of a workwear wardrobe at the start of the 20th century, a lady needs only a handful of well-chosen garments and accessories to always look stylish. A sleek pencil skirt, a little black shift dress, a well-fitted, uni-colored wrap dress, a quality handbag and an elegant silk scarf - these are work wardrobe basics every gal should have. Buying matching and contrasting items of well-made clothes will turn you into a stylish lady from Monday to Friday.
That means out with your outrageous multi-colored floral frock and in with a classic but ultra-chic white button-down. Mix and match can include bold colors and graphic prints, as long as you combine them with calmer uni-colored items.
Invest in comfy heels instead of buying kitten heels or stilettos that won't see you through the day. Less is more. Instead of 50 pairs of shoes, out of which 25 pairs pinch and give you blisters, buy only 10 pairs that fit like a slipper! The investment money needed is about the same.
Wearing layers is not only an art form fashion wise. In offices where air conditioning rules, wearing layers can protect you from feeling either too hot or too cold. Take your style to the next level: start off with a sleek pencil skirt, add a smart waistcoat over your blouse, then follow up with a cashmere wrap, chic blazer or jacket.
Mixing and matching prints can at first be a little scary, but once you understand the principles it's not that hard. Aim for layering prints with a matching color palette but have patterns with different sizes. Don't go over the top and stick to colors that suit your complexion and hair color.
Great handbags are also part of the Coco Chanel commandments of a workwear wardrobe. 1920s ladies in Coco's day may not have needed a tote to carry their laptops, but they knew enough to invest in a small clutch to carry their powder compact, hanky and lippy that would complement and enhance their entire outfit, not wreck it with garish design or color.
Warmer days may tempt you to grab the skimpiest outfit in your wardrobe, but spaghetti straps are an absolute no-no where work's concerned. Wear them to go out to impress a potential new lover, but never wear tops or dresses with plunging necklines at work, if you want to be taken seriously and get ahead in your career.
Many offices allow their employees to wear denim these days - often on Friday's dress-down days. But wearing denim doesn't mean you have to really dress down. For a more sophisticated office look, try out different trouser cuts, accessories with elegant belts or silk scarves.
Sandals or even sweatshirts can be quite appropriate in some work environments. If you're permitted to show off your favorite weekend wear in the office, pick a few with simple cuts but deluxe fabrics and stylish embellishment to up your work wardrobe game and look a little more sophisticated.
Dress to impress the boss or you won't get hired/promoted...the first impression is the one that's lasting...while these statements are true enough within the context of the ten commandments of a workwear wardrobe, it is also true that the most important person you'll need to impress is actually yourself. Never mind what your co-workers think of your outfits. What you wear should make you feel confident and happy with yourself. Never wear anything that's torn, dirty, stained or too revealing, nor anything that will make you feel overdressed compared to everybody else at work. Most importantly, wear something that really suits your personality and natural coloring, not something the latest fashion magazine dictates for the season.
Do you have to wear a uniform for work? Do you love it or hate it? But do you see its advantages over having to throw open the closet every day with indecision?
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