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home>>beauty & fashion>>business attire>>Workplace Wardrobe

Workplace Wardrobe

by: Indra Books

Does an unwritten dress code mean a fashion free-for-all in the office? Absolutely not! Written dress codes are often designed with legal situations in mind such as harassment, and safety. Unspoken, unwritten dress codes are all about the image of the company and your ability to promote yourself as a team player and someone with potential worthy of promotion.

We all want to look good but there is a right and a wrong way to go about it at the office. When you go for an interview, as nervous as you might be, make sure you take note of your surroundings. What are people wearing? The first few days of your new job, dress conservatively until you figure out the work "uniform." Trust me on this, you will not start a new office dress trend by wearing something considered outlandish by current office standards. While none of us wants to be a conformist, there is moderation and then there is downright career suicide dressing.

While we all want to be individuals, a lot can be taken from Chanel's famous quote, "be a caterpillar by day and a butterfly at night." I cannot tell you how many times I have remarked "That is a cute outfit but why is she wearing it in the office. It is great for clubbing." And you know your wardrobe is too over the top when the men in the office are commenting about the inappropriateness of the attire. You should never be the water cooler gossip subject when it comes to fashion.

The Rules of the Road:

  1. Determine what the "code" is in the office.
  2. Go through your wardrobe and see what base pieces you have that fit within that code. If you don't have enough pieces to go a week, you may need to pump up your wardrobe. You want to be consistent. You don't want to dress within the code one day and then wear something opposite the next. It gives the impression that you are not serious about your job.
  3. Clothing should never be tight ANYWHERE.
  4. Dress as if you already have that next promotion. In other words, dress for success. What are those above you in the corporate structure wearing?
  5. Make sure your grooming is consistent with the wardrobe. Hair, nails, and accessories are just as important as the clothes. Give yourself a visual check in the mirror before you leave the house. You never want to overhear someone saying "Didn't he/she look in the mirror this morning?"

So how do you retain your personality without being the talk of the office?

  1. Add your personality with the colors you wear. Wearing basic neutral colors like black does not mean you can't spruce it up with a touch of your favorite color in your shirt, scarf, jewelry or tie.
  2. Accessorize to bring out your personality. That little handbag that says "this is me!" is a great way to insert yourself into the office "uniform."
  3. Add texture. Basic does not mean boring. Suede, corduroy, flowing fabrics, etc. can give a basic skirt design a lift.
To learn more about what you should have in your wardrobe, read our article on Wardrobe Basics.

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About The Author
Indra A Books, author of this and many other lifestyle articles is the owner and founder of ON THE GO 4 U, Personal Shoppers & Concierge Service in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The company’s creed is to provide its clients with the ultimate life management experience. In addition to its shopping and concierge services, ON THE GO 4 U also publishes a monthly e-zine and conducts workshops on wardrobe, entertaining and decorating. For more information about the author and ON THE GO 4 U, please visit http://www.onthego4u.net

© 2005 Indra A Books, ON THE GO 4 U. All rights reserved.
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