I recently received two similar workplace-fashion questions: both of these readers work in offices where employees are encouraged to dress more or less however they like…but neither is really into the idea, for very different reasons.
Hi Jordan: Since I love your style, I was wondering if you could help me out with a clothing dilemma. I work at a company that has no dress code and is a start-up (young! fun! hip!)…so basically anything goes. I’m at a complete loss: I want to look trendy and fashionable, but still semi-professional.
Jordan, I’m thinking Ramshackle Glam might need to help me with my new work wardrobe. Dress code is casual. Yep, casual. Like jeans and t-shirts. Two things: (1) I refuse to wear jeans and t-shirts to the office. If I don’t dress up in something cute for the day, it doesn’t feel like I’m ready to do anything productive; (2) having come from a stuffy law firm where business to business casual was the norm, my wardrobe is going to need some sprucing up.
To me, these questions raised an interesting issue: How much should your attire stand out when you’re on the job?
To answer this, you have to start with these two questions first:
1. How much do you want your attire to stand out?
2. How much does your employer want your attire to stand out?
The trick is to strike a balance, leaning far more heavily towards what your workplace expects of you.
If your workplace is big on Cool Factor but you feel lost every time you look into your closet, you can’t go wrong with more “unexpected” neutrals (meaning dove gray and navy rather than basic black), pretty patterns on top, and colorful shoes.
If your workplace is all about the casual but you still want to stretch your fashion legs, the goal is to feel stylish and pulled-together while not making too much of a point with your clothing – you don’t want what you’re wearing to get noticed before your work product. Go for neutrals in relaxed (but not especially attention-grabbing) shapes and fabrics with the occasional pop of color or pattern (not both) mixed in, and add standout accessories, like a great bag or gorgeous scarf.
Click here for more stylin’ office looks.
Product info after the jump.
Set 1, from left to right:
Set 2, from left to right: