Vibe's digital reporter, Ashley Birch
How to be business-like and on-trend at the same time
Dressing for business used to be so easy, especially for the male of the species. Fashions may have changed with the seasons but when it came to a working wardrobe, the suit and tie pretty much came as standard.
These days, it’s not so simple. In many working environments, particularly newer industries such as digital, power dressing has pretty much gone by the board. The MD of that super successful company with profits running into the high millions can look just like the rest of the workforce - jeans and casual shirt.
Does this make life easier or just leave us with one more thing to stress about in the working week? Any old pair of jeans or designer label? And in more traditional lines of work does ‘power dressing’ still impress? What’s the dress code in the modern workplace?
The arrival of spring presents a fantastic opportunity to update your business attire for both men and women with brighter colours, lighter fabrics, patterned trousers and statement accessories.
For men, the warmer months are great chance to experiment with checked trousers, whether they are simply monochrome or have an added splash of colour, they work well with a light cotton shirt paired with a soft shoulder blazer making you stand out from the regular office crowd. And, if you aren’t a fan of patterned trousers, why not opt for a skinny or a relaxed fit in blues, browns or nudes.
Business isn’t all about the blazer, so why not try pairing your button-up shirt and tie with a cardigan? An unbuttoned oversized, thick cardigan is a good option but if you prefer to be buttoned up, try a thin cardigan with low-placed buttons to showcase your tie. Another option would be to pair your shirt with a coloured waistcoat to dress up your work attire.
Although ties are a crucial piece of formalwear, they are not everyone’s favourite item. Why not consider a neckerchief, as they offer a more relaxed feel, and do remember that not all offices require you to wear a full suit. If you’re office does require a tie try wearing lighter shades of blue, purple, pink and red.
However, there is always going to be an occasion when traditional formal wear is needed, so don’t underestimate the power of a good suit. Make sure you have at least one tailored outfit in your wardrobe for any corporate events.
“Find your ‘wow’ colour for the season - just because you are wearing a suit doesn’t mean you can’t introduce individuality and personal style. A tailored suit does convey confidence and shows that you are a structured, organised and put together person, which is ideal in a professional environment, but there is nothing wrong with a statement tie, neckerchief or scarf” said Peter, personal stylist at John Lewis, Sheffield.
For women, while a shorter sleeve is more appropriate for the warmer weather, it is important to steer clear of spaghetti straps and bandeau tops, instead opting for a light and loose shirt making sure it is not a see-through material.
Now that spring has sprung, it means trousers can be swapped for light, patterned or floral skirts and dresses, which are great paired with a pastel shirt or cardigan. However, be mindful of hemline length and always have a pair low denier tights on hand for more formal meetings. If trousers are more your style opt for a looser fit such as cut-offs or culottes.
Make sure you always have a jacket on hand thanks to the unpredictable English weather, but rather than a full coat try a tailored duster jacket or long-line blazer. And, take this as an opportunity to inject some colour and pattern into your work wear.
For both men and women, your shoe choice is crucial, as not only do your feet need to be comfy all day but they need to look office appropriate. For the warmer months, opt for brogues and formal footwear in shades of brown or nudes, and as tempting as it may be steer clear of flip flops and open-toes.