I’m sitting here in a house dress and thongs, typing away at the keyboard until it’s time to get ready to glam it up for a Melbourne Cup luncheon.
I could not be more removed from the corporate work environment if I tried.
I’ve been there, though. There was a time when my wardrobe had two quite separate personalities – office and casual – with not much in between.
Office wear can zap your wardrobe personality. But only if you let it.
I’ve worked with hundreds of women who juggle work and kids or work and a relaxed weekend social life so I get that you need two different looks. Importantly I get that you don’t want to lose your style when upholding a corporate image.
I was reminded of this recently when a reader asked:
Can you pleeeeease help me? I work in a corporate environment 3 days a week and I just can’t get a funky corporate look happening. I just do boring suits. Any chance you could write a blog piece on funky corporate looks? I can do funky at home and I reckon there is a way to bridge the two looks and wardrobes! I just need an expert to help me! Got to thank you for your work! I LOVE it! xxxxx Simonie
Well, Simonie I’m here to tell you that flattery WILL get you everywhere and you CAN put the funky into corporate.
Long gone are the days where you have to wear head-to-toe bank-uniform-style shirts and suits.
Yes, we’ve de-constructed the suit and I’m here to tell you, you can take your corporate style to Funky Town. Yes, you can.
How to dress corporate style
1. Start with one garment that has a bit of structure to it. A pair of well cut pants, a beautiful jacket, a slimline knee-length skirt or a shift dress. Things may have relaxed a little at corporate end of town but you still need to give a little nod to structure. These pieces are the anchors of your work wear outfit and they are the things you should spend most of your budget on. You want them to look just as good on that first outing as their 20th.
2. Add a garment that softens the structure. Think soft flowing tops (which you can either tuck in or leave out) or a dress in a plain or printed jersey. The contrast between the soft and the structure immediately adds a little funk, a little personality to your work-day look. This is also where you can bring in any current fashion trends that you’re a bit taken with. Hello chartreuse? Yep, you can funk up a grey suit any day.
3. Have fun with accessories. Who says you have to wear black pumps? No-one. Why not step out in a red or a leopard print heel? Show us your wardrobe personality. That’s what we want to connect with – even in the work place. Add a statement necklace or ring. Both of these are useful pieces in a networking situation. I call them conversation starters. Try it yourself next time you’re at an event with other women. What’s the first thing that will get noticed – and commented on? Uh-huh. Feels good doesn’t it?
3 ways to style corporate this summer
Bag it up
A good bag. A good reliable bag is a workwear essential. Yes, it is. And I do believe I may have found your “best” workwear friend. Check out this tote from My Best Friend is a Bag. She’s called Elle. And she is handcrafted in leather, has a tassle, is roomy and comes with a padded iPad compartment. Yep. We are besties already, Elle and I*. And get excited, Stylers, next week we’ll be giving away a beautiful bag from My Best Friend is a Bag, as part of my Christmas Comes Early giveaway. Stay tuned …
Do you work in an office? How do you showcase your corporate style?
PS. I’m over at Shop Me Chic today. The gorgeous Sonia and Melinda have quizzed me about my style.
* The bag was gifted to me for editorial consideration in accordance with my disclosure policy.