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Navigating the perils of casual office wear

Posted on: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 Category: Uncategorized (59)

Dressing for the new office.  The office where suits are no longer required everyday. The firm that went “casual” in the 90’s. The bank that offered “casual Fridays” and has now seen the dress code relax all week. How do you get smart, office casual right?

The first and most important thing to remember is that you are dressing for work, so unless that means you coach a sports team, play for a sports team or have a specific uniform – if you are going to work in a office it generally still means “dress up”.  Dressing up does not mean being more formal, but rather demonstrating your personality, your capability through your costume.  The old saying “dress not for the job you have but for the job you want” still rings true.

So what do you wear?  What’s appropriate and professional?

For starters, don’t ditch the suit.  There are always suit appropriate times and it seldom hurts to be better dressed than the rest.  Important client meetings, presentations, job interviews and any time you want to impress.  Stick to navy or a dark grey – the most versatile and sophisticated.  Make sure the suit can be worn as separates – the jacket with other pants and the pants without the jacket.  So, avoid pleats or anything too tricky.  Good quality fabric and fit is a must and today, does not need to cost the earth.

Chinos are a good option for a casual work trouser, but they have to be good quality cotton (not too thin) and stick to darker colours.  Stay away from too many pockets.

It is work, not play so avoid tee shirts, unless they are cool, new and ironed and worn with a jacket.  Avoid sportswear unless you’re playing sport.

Brown shoes, lace ups, brogues, loafers, ankle boots all work better than trainers in most cases.  It should go without saying that anything with velcro is a no.

Knitwear is good – but tread carefully.  Cardigans are tricky unless you are 25 or under.

Belts? Yes.  Socks? Always.

Dress for your age and your shape.  If you are very slim, avoid anything too baggy or too fitted.  Both accentuate the slimness.  Opt for straight leg trousers and shirts and jackets that fit your  shoulders and gently taper towards the waist.  Slim people are the only ones who can go double breasted!  If you are not slim, avoid adding bulk but remember, tailoring is your friend.  Structure is key – it can hide almost anything.  Dark colours are more slimming, wearing the same colour from head to toe lengthens the body.

When choosing colours, neutrals all work together so stick to navy, white, grey and camel.

If you are 50 you shouldn’t dress like you are 25.  If you have a senior role you should look like you are important.  Likewise if you have a creative role, your should try to look like you can be creative.  

Remember you can’t repeat a first impression and you never know who or what the day might bring.youthpastortrend

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