Shopping for Career Wear

Preppy short hair and a buttoned shirt - Careerlook for women
Photo: Roman Virales/Shutterstock
Intentional or not, beneficial or not, the fact remains that your clothes are a redoubtable medium of self expression, they say so much about who you are. That’s the reason why dressing in an appropriate fashion becomes all the more important when you are at work.
How the ladies love shopping for clothes is probably the worst kept secret in this universe, but at the same time it is also true that most of the emphasis while shopping is on ‘going-out’ dresses and the weekend clothes ignoring the need for a separate office wardrobe.
A separate, well thought out and well invested work-wardrobe would go a long way in ensuring that you are a success at work. Tact and taste are the two key operating words when shopping for work outfits.
When in doubt, always ask…
So you are starting in a new workplace and are unsure of the dress code, written and unwritten. That’s normal; just make sure that you make thorough enquiries with the people who work there, so that you can begin shopping accordingly and don’t end up being a joker in the pack on your very first day.
Still in doubt?
If you’re still in doubt about how to dress, you can always fall back upon your business suite for the first day, it never goes wrong. After that, all you need to do is observe your colleagues’ dressing to get a fair idea of what are you are expected to wear, mix it with your own individual style and class and begin shopping accordingly.
General must-have clothing and the avoidable clothing in your ‘office wardrobe’:
• Numerous suits with stylish yet simple jackets or blazers and matching skirts
or trousers.
• The skirts should be ideally of knee length, too short would expose a lot of skin when you sit and your colleagues might find that offensive, and too long will make your figure look disproportionate.
• The colors used should generally be neutral shades like black, grey, navy blue etc. Loud and bold colors are considered flashy and unprofessional.
• You are young and peppy and have all the right to let that side show through your dresses. So it would be a good idea to buy some bright colored blouses to be worn under those neutral jackets. Also, invest in some plain button down collared shirts; they are great on their own or under a jacket.
• In general avoid blouses that are a bit too low cut for your comfort or that of your colleagues, the aim is not to spill over from your blouse. Attract attention for the right reasons!
• In case of trousers, make sure they fit really well, nothing too tight or too loose.
• Be practical! Your end goal is to do the best job that you can, so why let your outfit be a hurdle in that? You can leave those killer heels behind if you have to stand up most of the time at work.
• If your office allows business-casuals on certain days or on all days, make sure you don’t turn that into ‘business-clumsy’ by turning up in a pair of pajamas.
Jeans means well tailored, dark colored jeans, not those whale tail showing
hipster jeans.
• You would do well to keep in mind the exact domain of your job. If you are in a financial organization, business smart should be your theme, whereas working in a fashion magazine would entail keeping your self abreast of the latest fashion trends and reflecting that in your wardrobe. But if you are in a more exciting and rewarding profession like pole dancing, then none of these guidelines would apply to you!
• Accessories are a good idea to break the monotony of business suits, again, key is using your discretion and being minimal.
• As they say, ‘your dress should reflect the job that you want, and not the one you currently have.’ The point is, being perched at the lower end of the hierarchy shouldn’t stop you from dressing like a corporate honcho, if that’s what you want to be. It shows your confidence and eagerness to climb upwards.
For any woman, dressing for work is more often than not, a conflict between appropriate and feminine, which is unfortunate because there is no reason why it can’t be both at the same time. You have all the right to feel feminine and sexy in whatever you wear. However flaunting skin and wearing flashy clothes are not the best way to go at work; a well tailored business suit exudes much more confidence and feminine sensuality than the former.