How to Dress to Impress at Work for Less

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have got.” That is a common phrase but it’s not always true. You could be a young millennial with dreams of running your own organic coffee cart or starting your own fashion empire but for the moment you’re earning whatever you can in retail or tapping away at a keyboard in a boring desk job.

impressDeciding what to wear at work can be a struggle even when you are given a dress code or guideline. Thankfully we no longer live in an age where suspenders and pantyhose are required office attire but neither are a plain T-shirt or a comfy tracksuit. For men, your best bet is business casual. Opt for smart trousers (Burton, Black regular fit £20 or 2 pairs for £35), a clean button-down collar shirt (Zara £29.99) and smart shoes. This will give you the ever so important “smart professional” look you (or your lovely manager) are striving for while still being comfortable enough to get work done and even go for drinks after work!

For women, the same rules apply. Go for a smart shirt, a simple blouse or even something a bit more “fashion forward”, like this Jigsaw Silk Pleat Front Top (Jigsaw, £79), and add trousers or pencil skirt. Pair that with flat pointed ballet shoes as these are both comfortable and practical while still giving off that office vibe. Wear heels if you want but everyone knows heels for eight hours a day are never fun.

It is crucial for those who work in the city to consider whether your outfit is Tube ready. Can you sit down in your dress? Is that shirt going to crease if you are squashed against a sliding door? Will you get pit stains? Good hygiene is a must for any environment except sitting on the sofa with pizza and Netflix.

A good idea is to set up your own uniform: a combination of different outfits that can be worn in rotation or even mixed and matched but always chosen to impress.  If you limit a section of your wardrobe to a few pieces that are just for your work/ professional wear then it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to get ready. Dividing your wardrobe that way can also have productivity benefits as you no longer need to spend so much time in the morning stressing over which blazer is the right choice.

That old saying about dressing for “the job you want, not the job you have got” might not always be the best rule but it can at least help you to be more aware of what is appropriate and what isn’t. The first step towards being a good team member is to feel good about yourself. Perhaps the rule should be to dress for the job you have while doing everything you can to get the job you want.

Ella Copping-Howard

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