What you wear at work has a big impact on how you are seen by your colleagues and clients, and so it may seem easy to reach for the safety of a suit. However, times have changed, and so have the requirements for what you wear at work. Of course, this depends on your employment – as some jobs will require you to wear a uniform – in which case your mind is made up for you.
However, if you work in the sort of environment where you can pick and choose your wardrobe, the sartorial decisions may be confusing. You may well want to add a little extra personality to your outfit rather than playing things totally safely (read: boring), but how far can you go without compromising your professional appearance?
It depends, in part, on where you work, as well as what you do. While it always pays to keep things smart, it doesn’t mean that you need to dress like your grandmother would have at her first job. Rather than opting straight for a regular suit, you may decide that separates are more suitable. They allow you to mix and match your wardrobe, giving you the chance to change your outfit a little day-by-day.
You could opt for a smart blazer, coupled with a smart coat for the cold weather and tailored trousers to offer a feminine silhouette. Your shoes should be practical enough for you to be able to walk in them, so leave the super-high heels for Saturday night, and go with something a little less vampish.
The bonus of buying separates over a traditional suit is that you can even use some of the items when you are not at work, that smart coat or blazer can be used with a pair of jeans to give a stylish lift to a regular non-work outfit.
When it comes to skirts, this year is all about the midi. With the bonus of looking smart and feminine, the midi manages to avoid the overly flirtatious look of the pencil or mini-skirt - making sure that you colleagues stay focused on their work, while giving you a professional and stylish air! Avoid the more extreme styles where you can for work, leopard print might be fine for a night out, but may be a bit too extreme for many workplaces. Instead, opt for quality where you can, and let that speak for itself. You can couple your midi with a crisp shirt or a plain cashmere jumper to add some extra verve, and keep you warm in the winter months too!
Outside of these wardrobe staples, use accessories to add a little bit of character and flair to your work-wear wardrobe. Maybe a scarf, some jewellery, or a bag to add a touch of class and personality to your wardrobe? Accessories can be an affordable way to quickly switch up your appearance, and can be added or taken away should you move from the office to some early-evening drinks!
With this all said, the suit still has a place in the office. While not as versatile as building your style up form a range of separates, there are those places that require a more conservative style. However, it is worth staying on trend with your suit, so dusting off that crumpled one you have had at the back of your wardrobe for years just won’t cut it style-wise.
Of course, when it comes to interviews, and if in doubt, it is best to always play it safe – so here, at least, the suit is still the safe option!