Dressing for work in the corporate world can be a tricky thing to do, depending on your out of work style. If your personal style is a quite creative or colourful out of work, you may feel restricted and uninspired in the sea of grey and black suit wear.
As the dress code is generally pretty formal and classic, a wardrobe of dresses, two piece suits and a series of tops and bottoms you can mix and match makes it straightforward. Wardrobe mistakes and malfunctions are less likely to happen, and you don’t have to worry about looking super-stylish.
If you are new to the company and not sure what you can get away with, I always go back to the statement 'Dress for the job you want, the the job you have' and I love Lauren Conrad’s rule on this “Thou shalt dress like my female boss.
If you do not have a female boss, too few do, emulate the highest-ranking female in your company and check out what everyone else wears. Unfortunately for many of my clients when I ask about what other women wear, there are very few women above or around them to aspire to. I encourage them to look at Pinterest or online and find someone who has a business style they like, and take note of what they like about it and how its put together to get some ideas.
I usually advise my corporate clients to go for classic with a twist. A pencil skirt in a bright colour; flattering, slim work trousers - in a colour if they dare, or a coloured silk blouse. Stylish pieces you can wear with anything. You can get away with colour in your corporate wardrobe if the cut and style of the outfit is simple. So a bright green dress could work, if it’s a classic wrap or shift dress, paired with a well cut jacket.
Most companies are absolutely fine with you wearing a chunky necklace, turning up to work with a mustard yellow handbag or working a beautiful scarf with a classic cut dress - as long as you stick to the basic rules of professionalism, not too tight, not too short, not too much skin.
Coloured or patterned shoes are a particularly good way to add some personality to your look and can bring personality to an otherwise simple outfit. There are so many available now at every price point from the high street to designer brands.
Lizzie Edwards is a style consultancy, offering personal styling and wardrobe advice to ambitious working women over 35, based in London UK.