Improve your workwear style
Step up your workwear game
Words— Mylène Genty
Am I the only one that finds my workwear attire matches my personality? Workwear often comes with a lot of rules and it can be tricky to adapt yourself to them. I remember when a person’s suit could speak as much about their rank than their diplomas did. Thankfully, we’re slowly shifting away from this classist way of dressing up.
In the spectrum of fashion, workwear used to be a synonym of neutrality. To me, old school office wear either evokes The Office's Jan Levinson-Gould (Jennifer Taylor-Clarke for you UK Office heads) or Diane Von Furstenberg’s tea dresses, A line skirts, and neat blouses. Back up further in time, and you’ll have Coco Chanel - the first designer to successfully sell women suits in the 20’s. How? She took men’s clothing and adapted it to women’s wear.
After World War II, more women were working in male-dominated environment and they had to emphasize their competence in a nonverbal way. The answer was the pant suit: dressing the same as men granted women an unspoken authority. Later on, Yves Saint-Laurent brought it to the next level with its tuxedo: shoulder pads, wide trousers - something women could have ownership over.
Nowadays, workwear is freer than ever: it all depends on how flexible the work environment is. Because the idea of work is also shifting from corporate stiffness to entrepreneurship, the business casual code is following along with new aesthetics. The last fashion shows for the past year proved that the power suit is going through a rejuvenating cure - think of the fearless suits at Tom Ford and Gucci. Mid-heel shoes have gone through an artsy twist thanks to Mansur Gavriel, Lisa Says Gah and Jacquemus.
Even though you can incorporate some of your personal taste in a corporate environment, there are still unwritten rules on how to dress up for work. Here are a few tips on how you can jazz it up without causing a commotion in the break room.
1. Add sparkles to your pants (figuratively)
While dark trousers always comes in handy, there’s no wrong in pulling off a pair of red, gen z yellow or even millennial pink trousers. The wider the better: loose fits are trending - and for good reasons. It breathes, it’s unstifled, it looks great on everyone (yes, really) and it gives a boost of confidence.
2. No more dull blazers
Say hi to brightness and pastel colours! A brilliant piece of clothing, the colourful blazer will never look childish, since its shape still possesses a formal allure. It’s the embodiment of professionalism and personality. Make sure you get yours in a light fabric this summer, with a matching pair of lightweight shorts.
3. Pastel suiting FTW
This is where the fun is at. There’s a bunch of options to choose from this season. The key to picking a great suit is to find the right size - of course, but also the right color. Because the suit itself is a strong statement, take it easy with the top underneath - a white tee-shirt will do just fine and make the outfit slightly more casual.
4. Play with your shoes
It’s a great time for shoes. If there’s a pair of particularly fashionable sneaker you’re proud of, why not try it with neutral outfit, like tailored trousers, a crewneck and a blazer? Depending on your work environment, it’s an easy thing to pull off.
With all this in mind, it’ll be easier to spice up your business casual outfits. Summer equals fun, and there’s no reason why this can’t be reflected at work. Remember what the late Douglas MacArthur once said: "Rules are mostly made to be broken.".
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