The new generation office dress code
So you got through the interview and finally landed your dream job. Now, you’re about to face an even bigger challenge: mastering the office dress code!
It’s no secret that work wear has relaxed over the years and it certainly has at my work, we only wear formal for client meetings. Rewind 20 years and the office dress code was all about power dressing; we’re talking formal suits, smart blouses and an almost exclusively monochrome colour palette. I do actually miss the smart blouse days when I first started working 15 years ago!
Nowadays, our busy lives mean we need a working wardrobe that can seamlessly transition between our work and play, especially if you work in the city. The office dress code has relaxed, giving rise to a new wave of super-stylish professionals who look just as good at work as they do catching up with the girls.
However, it’s a difficult look to master. Go too casual and you risk an awkward chat with your manager about dressing appropriately, while a formal outfit may be too much and they think you are going to a job interview!
So how do you strike the balance? Thankfully, QUIZ Clothing, retailers of office-ready dresses, has shared their tips for mastering the new generation office dress code:
Of course, there will always be a place for dresses in your working wardrobe. They’re super easy to style and they suit both smarter and more relaxed dress codes so something to suit everyone.
If your new workplace still has a formal dress code, choose a simple and chic midi dress. Stay away from lace, bold prints or bright colours as they can make you look like you’re dressed for a night out instead of a day in the office! Stick to plain styles or subtle prints for versatile looks you can work throughout the year. For me 6 different formal dresses and rotate them so you don't even need to think about mix and matching along with tights and flat pumps or switch to heels.
In more relaxed workplaces, stick to casual dresses. Jumper dresses will work well through autumn and winter when paired with tights and heeled ankle boots. Shirt dresses are another great choice, as their collar will naturally make them feel smarter.
Trousers & tailoring
The power suit may be a thing of the past but you can still be a girl boss with the right tailoring. Trousers are having a moment right now, so make sure you have a few great pairs in your wardrobe for those days when you need to look effortlessly chic so its worth investing a pair that will last you ages.
Tapered trousers are essential. They’ll hug your figure and subtly show off your shape, and will look great with both smart flats and heels. Wear your flats day-to-day and switch them for heels for that all-important meeting, everyone in the city does this...who wants to be running for the tube in heels.
Culottes and frill hem trousers can also be worn but because they’re such bold styles and rather difficult to pull off in my opinion. Just like dresses, shy away from bolder prints and colours and stick to classic checks and stripes.
When it comes to what to wear your trousers with, you’re spoilt for choice! For a more casual look, wear them with a loose-fitting plain t-shirt and slouchy cardigan or plain jumper. Loosely tuck the hem of your top into your trousers at the front. To create a formal look, swap the t-shirt for a smart blouse — an embroidered shirt would be the perfect choice for an on-trend look. What ever you buy make sure they are well fitted and crease proof.
Wearing jeans to the office would be unthinkable 20 years ago. Nowadays, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear denim to the office providing its styled correctly.
If you are to wear jeans to work, it goes without saying that you’ll need to choose more reserved styles. So knee cut jeans is a no no, so keep it classic with plain, rip-free denim. It’s wise to choose a darker wash to give a more formal vibe.
Keep the rest of your outfit smart to avoid letting your look stray too far into off-duty territory. Pair your jeans with a smart-casual shirt or blouse and wear with more formal flats and a chic blazer.
Of course, if your company has a strict dress code, you may not be able to wear jeans at all, so it’s well worth enquiring before your start date to avoid any fashion faux pas!
We’ve already briefly mentioned shoes but, as they can make or break an outfit, we thought we’d give them their own section! Overall, you have three main choices when it comes to work shoes: flats, boots and heels.
Shoes is the obvious 3 main trends being boots, flats and heels.
First up, flats. Loafers are a huge trend at the moment, which is good news for all you professionals! Smart yet stylish, they’re the perfect work shoe that can be worn with trousers, dresses and jeans. You’ll definitely need black loafers, and it’s wise to invest in a nude pair too.
As autumn winter creeps ever nearer, boots are another great option. Over knee boots teamed with a jumper dress and tights is an on trend look for winter 2017. Heeled boots are also a great option, as they’re both formal and versatile, although flat boots can also work.
Heels are perhaps the trickiest of all of our work footwear choices. You’ll need to choose a sensible heel, so leave the sky-scraping platforms at home for work. That doesn’t mean you have to wear kitten heels though; mid-heeled, closed-toe shoes are the perfect choice. Strappy sandals are your perfect day to night office choice – team with wide leg trousers for a chic daytime look. What ever you wear make sure you break into them and have a pack of compeed ready in your handbag.
The changing work dress code is your chance to show off your style queen status. Get your look right and you’ll be the office fashionista in no time!