From a general perspective, women’s fashion can be described as dynamic, colorful, exciting, fun and (insert basically any fancy adjective here). But when it comes to workplace style, we’ve been a bit stunted in our growth.
Many professional women have resigned themselves to drab, wallflower office attire — and often for legitimate reasons. Too “sexy” or “frumpy” often unfortunately border the very fine line of what’s deemed appropriate when it comes to corporate dress code. And while we should always try to present ourselves well, the concept of “proper” doesn’t need to mean what it used to — especially in the tech world.
Here you’ll find some tips on elevating your workplace style — and breaking free of the navy blue power suit or khaki trousers of yesteryear.
Prints, Colors and Patterns, Oh My!
This just in: It’s time to ditch the boring, monochromatic, let’s-blend-in looks!
Women can own their power in the workforce without conforming to stereotypes. While there are classic pieces that we all consider timeless (such as a crisp white blouse or black pencil skirt), feel free to have some fun with style sensibilities that are uniquely you.
If you love something but perhaps think the print is too much for the office, think again.
Styling is everything, so envision your favorite vibrantly colored sheath dress layered under a neutral blazer or cardigan. Mixing in your personal pieces with your business wardrobe can give you individuality and let your personality shine through — you don’t need to hide it. Feast your eyes on this pinterest page featuring pops of color.
While you’re at it, read up on business power colors, it’s totally a thing!
Photo: Amanda Brinkman, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Deluxe Corporation & creator/producer of Small Business Revolution — Main Street, wearing a sheath dress by Alice Riot, a professional women’s wear line that features female contemporary artists’ work on wrinkle-free textiles.
Buying off the rack or online can often be a challenge. Since no one’s body type is the same, and manufacturers use custom size-guides per brand, it’s often tough to find your ideal fit — especially for those of us who aren’t the perfect size 6.
To avoid boxy, ill-fitting looks you can do a variety of things, such as seek out materials like spandex-blend or a ponte textile that lay will nicely with a bit of stretch to them. This ensures you can buy your size with a bit of extra “give” to flatter and create a streamlined silhouette without excess fabric bunching up in the wrong places.
Buying pieces made with classic suiting textiles are often overly structural, and if they aren’t tailored properly, can easily come off as ill-fitting, not to mention uncomfortable.
In the tech world, if you work in an office with a more relaxed dress code, but you still want to look sharp, consider a fitted blazer with tailored denim. If you find a suit that you love the cut of, taking it into a tailoring shop is not as pricey as you may think — and it makes a world of difference.
How should it fit? Check out these blogs:
Even if your office dress code is strict, that usually doesn’t mean you can’t express
individuality in creative ways. An artist-made statement necklace paired with a classic, open-neck blouse and pencil skirt can take you from drab to fab in an instant. Add a gorgeous designer scarf or a beautiful pair of shoes to give your outfit more pizzazz, while still being boardroom-savvy.
Seeking out local designers in your area is a great way to ensure your style is one-of-a-kind, while at the same time supporting creative women-owned businesses — which is always a good thing!
Photo: Handmade, natural stone accessories by Rox Jewelry
Style In A Box
Still not confident in your own style? Try one of the "style in a box" clubs. They pair you with a professional stylist who finds out about your style and lifestyle and then sends you pieces each month or quarter.