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Looking sharp: what to wear for work

What’s your approach to work wear? Do you go all out to impress your boss – or do you throw on any old thing that comes to hand?

What we wear affects how we are perceived by those who hold the keys to our career success. But that doesn’t mean you need to dress like a corporate lawyer – unless that’s where you work. It’s about tuning in to your company’s dress code and values. Now add a little personal flair to show that you’ve got confidence, and you’re sharp and ready for work.

1. What to avoid

First thing you should figure out is what not to wear. This will vary, depending on where you work. But there are some common elements that pop up in dress codes nearly everywhere. These include flip flops, thongs, or jandals – whatever you might call them, they don’t belong at work. Avoid anything sheer or body-con. And you know the rule about wearing leggings as pants – that applies in all areas of life!

Some workplaces go with the rule that if you would wear it to the beach, the gym, or to bed, it doesn’t belong at work. Maybe you could add the club to that list, and you’ve got it covered. Pretty simple!

2. Find your personal style

If the way you dress at work shows a strong sense of personal style, you will be perceived as more confident, competent and in control. That’s a good thing. But don’t confuse your out-of-work style choices with work wear. Choose an outfit that aligns with your company’s vision and values, then add your twist with a pop of colour or tiny details like excellent shoes. This applies as much for men as for women.

3. Be a chameleon

As our workplaces become more flexible, and more of us choose to telecommute at least some of the time, what we wear must become more flexible too. You can spend most of your day hard at work behind a bank of screens, wearing something comfortable. But when you meet with a client or pitch for a new piece of work, you still need to look sharp. Design a wardrobe that can be easily dressed up while still retaining an element of cool. This can be as simple as keeping a blazer and a knockout pair of shoes at the office. That way you can look put-together, in control, and sharp as a knife at a moment’s notice.

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Henry Sapiecha

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