Dress for work has all of a sudden got more complicated. What is acceptable, what are other executives wearing in the workplace and what does “business casual” really mean?
Director, Ali Shaw, recently met with award-winning Personal Stylist, Zoë Rodrigues who is often invited in to smarten up executive teams, to discuss business casual and expectations post-pandemic.
The visual aspect of communication is remarkably influential. Whether we like it or not, we are judged consciously and subconsciously based on how we present ourselves, be it in a professional or personal setting. Indeed, research indicates that a mere 7 seconds is all it takes to form a lasting first impression. It is crucial to ensure that those initial seconds work for you rather than against you.
THE IMPORTANCE OF APPEARANCE
“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
Countless adages emphasise the significance of dressing well, especially in the workplace, and for valid reasons. Professional attire holds sway over how we perceive our roles. The way we dress for work often mirrors our attitude toward our job. Clothing does not just elevate our confidence; it can significantly impact our professional stature. Moreover, just as our attire affects our self-perception, it also influences how others perceive us. Whilst style doesn’t substitute hard work, presenting the “right” image will always be a positive step.
WHY DRESSING WELL MATTERS
Whether you are eyeing a career transition, have recently been promoted, or are aiming for one, now is the moment to control how others see and judge you.
Consider the respect accorded to a doctor in a white coat. According to the theory of enclothed cognition, our attire tends to embody the traits they represent. Wearing clothes that exude confidence and creativity can stimulate innovation within us. The idea that our favourite clothes instil confidence is not just a gimmick; opting for quality attire helps us feel more self-assured, and that is always a good thing.
Remember that the key lies in a good fit, regardless of your preferences. Comfort breeds confidence.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY IN THE POST-PANDEMIC ERA?
Life has changed. For many people, home and workplace have blended. However, this does not translate to a carte blanche for leggings or joggers! Your clothing choices for work should still convey professionalism, sophistication and respect for your work environment, albeit in a more authentic manner.
With an array of options available, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Mastering the basics remains the key to success in most situations, and fashion is no exception. Knowing which colours complement your skin tone and how to flatter your physique remains the key to dressing with confidence and style.
As a personal stylist, I firmly believe that our outward appearance mirrors our inner emotions, and everyone deserves to feel fantastic. My goal is simple: to craft an image that reflects the best version of you. Below, I have outlined some suggestions for a refined yet comfortable, stylish and professionally appropriate appearance.
BUSINESS CASUAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WOMEN
Enhance the basics and let your genuine style shine by opting for:
- A versatile soft blazer or a longline winter coat
- Wide-legged trousers over strictly tailored versions
- Non-traditional colour palettes, like burgundy paired with light blue or camel and red
- Dresses, skirts, blouses and sweaters paired with jackets
- Key accessories to infuse personality into your look
BUSINESS CASUAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MEN
Craft a personalised and distinctive appearance by making the formal “suit” look a tad more casual:
- Simple blazers or jackets
- Comfortable sweaters and shirts with patterns or non-neutral hues
- Relaxed trousers that do not always adhere to corporate colours
- Accessories such as colourful socks and scarves
- Stylish shoes like loafers, boots, or classic-toned leather trainers
THE CRUX OF IT
Business casual lives up to its name: a formal and informal wear fusion. To adhere to a “business casual” dress code, maintain a professional and composed look without necessarily resorting to a suit every time. If you seek guidance in refining your successful style, reach out, and I will ensure you look and feel “dressed for success”.
For more info on Zoë’s recommendations for Christmas party ideas, please get in touch with one of the team and we will share Zoë’s ideas or connect with Zoë here.