What does “dressing for success” really look like?
Workplace attire can be a little tricky to figure out. There are a few things that factor into finding appropriate workwear; your age, the company culture, the type of work you do or industry you’re in. In most cases, workplaces ascribe to a “business casual” dress code.
What the heck is business casual?
There’s a fine line between being overly formal and being too casual – and that line is business casual. It’s pretty open to interpretation, which gives you the leeway you need to integrate a sense of personal style and identity into your professional space.
You are an informal ambassador of the company/companies you work with; your image needs to represent the brand, while also providing you the comfort needed to do your job well.
How does clothing affect my performance?
Creating the distinction between the work-you and your off-duty self sets boundaries that compartmentalize your positions so you’re able to switch roles and, in turn, fulfill the responsibilities of each accordingly. By attributing meaning to different types of dress, we essentially embody the responsibilities associated with it and help to detach from the various tribulations life throws at us outside of them.
In support of this fact, Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, says “[w]hen we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”
Business casual outfit inspo:
So you know what business casual is, and how it helps you work more productively; here is where I explain items that constitute this genre of dress, and guide you towards disseminating that into concrete looks that’ll exude your badass boss lady energy!
#1: Spice It Up
Mix and match fabrics and patterns to spice up a basic pant-top outfit. When picking a top or a blouse, be mindful of where the neckline falls on you, and try to avoid tops with writing or graphics on them that might offend anybody. As for bottoms, make sure your trousers or skirts are well fitted – meaning: ensure they don’t hang awkwardly on your body; this will just appear sloppy.
#2: Jump Into A Jumpsuit
Curveball! Why not shake things up with a jumpsuit? They’re super comfortable, and bring in the “casual” element in elegantly. I would choose to pair this particular jumpsuit with a basic stiletto heel to amp up the outfit.
#3: Pencil Yourself In
You can’t go wrong with a pencil dress; this one in particular gives me 60s mod vibes in a modern silhouette.
A tip to ensure your dress is at a “modest” length is to place 4 fingers above your knee; if the hem of the dress falls above that, then it’s probably not work-appropriate.
#4: Not-So-Plain Jane
Dress this suit down with a plain white tee and some white sneakers, or dress it up for a more formal “big meeting” look with a blouse and a short heel; this “template”, if you will, applies to almost any suit colour or style.
It’s really important you give yourself room to experiment with workwear! Allow yourself the space to feel comfortable, but to also exude strength and power. Embody what you aspire to become and everything will fall into place.