The clothes we wear express who we are but can also have a huge impact on how we – and others – see ourselves. Nowhere is this more important than in our work life as this is where we often need to call on every ounce of resilience and confidence we have to put in the best possible performance. A work wardrobe which makes you feel less than fantastic will soon start to drain your energy levels. It’s true that you need to dress to impress at work, but the most important person you need to impress is yourself. Luckily, you don’t need to rush out and buy bags and bags of new clothes to dress up your work wardrobe.
Key features of a stylish work wardrobe
Some workplaces enforce a uniform, and it’s not in an effort to quash the style or self-expression of their employees. It creates a sense of identity in the company which can be great for teamwork and puts everyone on a level playing field, but it also removes the need for decision making when you get ready for work each day. That’s what you should keep in mind when choosing new workwear as a capsule wardrobe will provide a small range of versatile items you can rely on to make you look and feel your best every day.
Comfort and how easily you can move around in the clothes is essential as you really don’t want to be worrying about pinching shoes, tight waistlines, or itchy fabrics during the working day. If an item makes you feel self-conscious, it’s going to affect not just how you feel but also your performance.
Putting a smart wardrobe together requires high-quality pieces which can withstand lots of wear and washing and still retain their shape. This is especially true when you are building a capsule wardrobe as you’ll be wearing key pieces multiple times.
Confidence is key to success at work, and our outfit goes a long way to making ourselves feel positive and strong in what we do. A great dress, jumpsuit or blazer that tells people that you mean business can make you feel a full foot taller.
6 simple ways to dress up your work wardrobe
Research what you like
Browsing in stores or on the internet is a great way to work out which outfit styles you prefer before you part with any money. It may be that what you like is quite different from what’s in your wardrobe and that’s okay. Often we buy and hold on to clothes that, if we’re honest, we will never wear. You may want to think about stylish celebrities or even people from your workplace who have a great sense of style. When you’ve collected plenty of images of the types of outfits you like, you can note down the similarities between them, such as color schemes.
Choose 2-3 garments which make you feel great
There are some garments which might be slightly unusual choices for you, but when you put them on they make you feel like a million dollars. These are the pieces which you can call on when you’re not feeling confident on the inside which give you an extra boost of self-belief. It could be a great pair of heels, a bold jumpsuit or a fantastic piece of outerwear such as a Gloverall peacoat which is not only stylish but also perfect for keeping you warm this winter.
Include 2-3 versatile staples
Next, come the classic pieces which you’ll probably pull out several times in a week as they are versatile enough to be dressed up or down. The little black dress or pantsuit is a great choice for many women as they can be worn with any colors and flats or heels depending on how formal you want it to be. These staple pieces should be of a high enough quality that they can withstand several wears. Depending on your workplace you may be able to wear some smart jeans which can be dressed up with a blazer.
Add in the basics
Your basic items will bring your confidence-boosting pieces and versatile staples together. This includes a range of plain t-shirts in colors which will coordinate with your pants and skirts or even underneath strappy dresses. Black pants and skirts will come to your rescue when you’re struggling for inspiration during the morning rush. Ideally, your basics should be neutral and plain as possible (avoid bright patterns) to ensure you have more combinations to choose from. You can choose to include color, but try to keep to block colors which complement each other.
Finish with accessories
Nobody wants to be swapping handbags every day to ensure that it coordinates with their outfit, especially when you’re rushing around in the mornings. It’s best to use a single bag which will look great with anything in your wardrobe and is big enough to hold what you need without feeling like you’re lugging around a suitcase.
In terms of shoes, just 2 or 3 pairs should give you plenty of options for every outfit as long as you choose them in neutral colors. A comfortable pair of smart flats and a pair of heels is ideal. Finally, your underwear should be supportive and comfortable – including pantyhose that don’t ladder at the slightest touch.
Throw your own fashion show
When you have all of your wardrobe pieces together, it’s time to try everything on. See how many different outfits you can create from what you have and make sure you feel great in everything. You might feel that something is missing like a stunning accessory or a couple of extra cardigans, or that you could do with another versatile staple item to give you more flexibility. On the other hand, you might want to hold off making any more purchases until you’ve lived with the wardrobe for a month or so. You might want to hang your work garments in a separate place to your casual and home clothes to make finding your outfit even easier each morning.
With your stylish but simple work wardrobe in place, you can now look forward to stress-free mornings, minimal laundry and plenty of compliments from your co-workers.