Whether you read it in your office handbook or in a how to guide in a magazine, ‘what to wear to work’ rules are everywhere, and are usually focused on the industry you work in. Naturally, depending on what you do, what is #OfficeApropos in one work place might be totally inappropriate somewhere else. Obvious right?
But what if you’re an accountant going to an office picnic? Or a start up founder meeting with an investor? Yes the rules are different depending on the job, but also within the job depending on the day. I work in a creative space where on most days comfort reigns supreme 9and I wear my oldest clothes when DIYing!), but I also work with a lot of corporate clients. Naturally when I see them I want to be perceived as reliable and professional, and it’s at those times my wardrobe should reflect this.
To celebrate the launch of Grana’s new Linen and Poplin shirts, both made of gorgeous fabrics are are the perfect staple pieces for dressing up or down depending in your job or the day, we’ve put together 5 questions you can ask yourself when you get dressed to help you get it right every time.
Oh and btw, Grana have been kind enough to offer 10% off to all you lovely readers, just use the code ‘APASxGRANA’ when checking out.
Wearing: Grana Poplin Shirt in Boyfriend Cut (mine is a size S – cos you guys always ask about sizes), Lee black jeans, Oroton leopard heels, Celine bag.
So what should you wear to work TODAY?
Question 1. What is your general work environment?
Most work places fit into the following 3 categories. Creative, Business Casual or Corporate. This will set a framework for the everyday.
Question 2. What do you have on today?
Just at your desk chipping away? Or going to a function or after work drinks? All of these things need to be considered before deciding what you wear. My rule is to dress for your most formal of activities – it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed! When in doubt I like to start with a white shirt, like Grana’s Linen or Poplin versions, and either dress it down with black jeans and flats, or dress it up with a pencil skirt and heels. Other times I just wear it with denim shorts 😉
Question 3. Who are you meeting?
Dressing for work is all about making the person you are with feel comfortable and confident in your abilities (and think your amazing and hire/invest/buy what you’re selling). One idea is to mirror the level to which you think they’ll be dressing whilst also adding a bit of your own flair.
Question 4. Am I dressing for the job I want, or the one I have?
Actively looking move on up in that office, or snag that client? A good idea is to put your head in that space and dress as though you’re already there. Even when I was grabbing coffees in my first town planning job I tried to dress like my boss (at least, that one woman who dressed well) – call it an addiction to lunch time shopping but either way I’m pretty sure it helped instil confidence in my superiors. Even if you hate your job, it pays to dress up – you never know who you might who may want to offer you another one!
Question 5. Might I have to be boss lady today?(!)
Ok so maybe you’re not the head of the company yet, but you never know when might be thrust into a more senior position. This doesn’t mean you have to be dressed to the nines everyday hoping it will happen, but putting a little thought into what you wear so you come across as responsible and able to represent your company well is important. It goes a long way to your boss feeling able to give you more responsibility/money/better work.
A few other questions:
Heels or flats? Life’s daily conundrum. Although it might sound stepford-wifey, to my mind there’s nothing like a pair of great heals to give you a confidence boost for an important meeting or presentation. Naturally you’ll have a pair of flats in your bag. 😉
Bare legs? Bare legs are pretty standard in most offices, but don’t jump the gun. Have you seen someone more senior that you with bare legs? In that case go for it. Closed toe shoes make bare legs more acceptable for some reason too.
Jeans? In the corporate and business casual environment probably not, unless it’s Friday and denim is allowed. In this case pair with ballet flats and a blazer to keep the look professional.
The Grana Linen boyfriend shirt is perfect for those more casual days.
Wearing: Grana Poplin Shirt in Boyfriend Cut, Oroton Leather Skirt, Vintage trench, The Mode Collective Heels.
Wearing: Grana shirt, Witchery Skirt, J Crew Heels, J Crew Bag.
Whatever you decide it’s important to keep a bit of who you are and show your personality through what you are wearing. Add something that makes the look feel like you no matter what level of work wear you are going for that day. And finally, have a pair of pumps under your desk and a go-to jacket or shirt you can throw on as well as a spare pair of tights in your draw. Life savers.
No pants Friday! Wearing Grana shirt, J Crew Bag, Zara Heels, Karen Walker sunglasses.
In other news, Grana have just launched their new flagship store at 108 Hollywood Road in Hong Kong. Drop into their opening party this Saturday (12th Sept) from 7pm. I’ll see you there!
Photos by Bryant Lee. This post is in collaboration with Grana.