Workplace Fashion: You Are What You Wear

Posted by | October 19, 2013 | Workplace

Workplace Fashion

Rightly said, ‘Our attire, appearance and conduct is reflective of the corporate image’. If you are concerned about your career, you will be more concerned with looking professional than looking fashionable or decked out.

In today’s world of cut-throat competition and spirited professionals, office wear doesn’t mean just the formal wear. One has to carefully pick the right attire for all office related events, be it product launches, office parties, business lunches or office picnic.

Getting dressed for the office doesn’t mean leaving your personal style behind; yet it is important not to be a fashion victim at work. Make sure your attire is pleasing and in accordance with your functional imperatives.

Your everyday work wear speaks volumes about your attitude and commitment to work. Your goal to getting dressed for work is to project a professional, competent image, regardless of your employment level or career path. While formal attire helps present a sharp, smart and service oriented executive; needless to say, casual wear reflects a nonchalant laidback attitude.

Some organizations encourage employees to dress as well or better than their customers, especially for employees who meet clients. It doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more companies are joining the bandwagon of ‘uniform for employees’.

Best bet: Formal trousers/pants, button-down shirts with tie, belt and shoes that are in good condition, neatly groomed hair. Sarees, salwar suits, churidar kurta, trouser with striped shirts, scarf, manicured nails, conservative hair, jewellery and makeup for her.

Career killer: Not wearing a belt, mismatched pair of socks, wornout shoes, shirts showing gap between buttonholes, body odour, etc.

What is a perfect ‘meet the client’ outfit? The answer lies in taking extra care to dress up when you are heading for a business meet. Select clean, pressed and wrinkle-free clothes for formal business attire.

Your outfit should communicate professionalism. Make sure you pick good quality clothes that boost your confidence and determination. It helps to know which look gives you a polished, professional look.

Best bet: Formal attire, pantsuits, blazers or jackets, tie, belt, business shoes, etc. Indian wear or western formals which include formal pants or skirts (formal, knee length or longer) with smart shirts/tops for her.

Career killer: Shabby appearance, stained or wrinkled clothes, florescent colours, wild prints, athletic shoes, sleeves foldedup, loud make-up, messy hair-dos, etc.

While professionals and organisation are still grappling to give a definition to Friday Dressing, the first and foremost concern is professionalism.

Casual Friday is a welcome change, with employees getting a chance to put aside their formal trousers and tie to slip into corduroys or Khaki pants. Though denim, T-shirts and flip-flops are acceptable only in the most casual of work environments, more and more offices are accepting trendy wear.

But before you dress casual, check to make sure you don’t have any meetings that require formal business attire. Shweta S, a media professional says, “For Friday dressing I ask myself if I can meet the CEO today without being embarrassed about what I’m wearing?”

Best bet: Smart casuals which include trousers/corduroys/skirts. Company logo polo and jeans. Dressy pants and a blouse, sleek jersey knits, skirts and tops, matching accessories.

Career killer: Capri/threefourths, Bermudas, silver sneakers, revealing clothes, slogan T-shirts, miniskirts, spaghetti straps

A party is a party but an official party has a professional and a formal look attached with it. Office party is time to go bling but keep in mind that you don’t overdo it.

“Official parties are a great way to interact with your co-workers and to know them more closely; one must take care of things that can make you the topic of discussion,” says Kunal Shroff, a sales manager.

Office parties are a time to relax and rejuvenate. What you wear for an office party should be carefully selected to accentuate your personality. The key is to look graceful yet professional.

Best bet: Safest bet is to wear black; jeans and stylish t-shirt/top, matching accessories.

Career killer: Sexy outfits, revealing clothes, loud streaked hair, clothes you can’t carry, your nightclub-avatar.

Time to flaunt your colourful tees and sporty footwear! You can easily be yourself during office picnics but don’t go over-the-top.

“Many employees tend to get too casual in their attitude when they are away from the formal office environ and face flak for their activities,” says S Ram, an HR professional.

Best bet: Comfortable clothes, jeans and tees, jacket, caps, sneakers, etc.

Career killer: See-through tops, crop tops, miniskirts, etc.

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