How to dress appropriately at work

Descent formal wear

Descent formal wear

Tafadzwa Zimoyo Fashion Talk 263

Fashion is alive.

In a world full of trends, remain classic.

Remember everyday is a fashion show and the world is your runway.

So always dress to the point anyway and let the spectators decide.

I was left astounded last week when I heard that some people are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture instead of being more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.

Isn’t it better be the meat wrapped inside than the wrapper itself? Food for thought.

Last week we had a hot topic on office wear and we started off with men.

The feedback is tremendous with a lot of men asking about getting the perfect tie to go with the shirt.

Conclusion: Wear clothes that you feel comfortable with but relevant to the occasion or place.

Men tend to listen and understand when it comes to fashion. But with women, it is difficult to appreciate or respect each other because everyday to them is like a race, competition —they don’t want to be beaten but always winners. One thing they forget is that they can change and develop with the world.

So this then leads us to part 2 of the office wear with all eyes on women this week.

Skirt or slacks?

Tights or bare legs?

Sandals or pumps?

Heels or wedges?

These are the questions you might find women asking each morning as they select their work attire.

And, depending on the dress code your company enforces, you could be spot on — or woefully off-base in your fashion choices.

According to a survey by Fashion Talk 263 — (please note it is not the fashion police like some are putting it) — only 60 percent of workplaces have a dress code.

If your new employee orientation didn’t cover it, contact your human resources department to ask about the official policy, so that you won’t be caught out one day.

Even if your orientation manual tells you to dress “business casual”, though, what exactly does that mean?

What is acceptable — and what isn’t?

As a fashionista, I always laugh at some of the attires that I see at work and ask myself, does the woman has a mirror at home or she is just dressing to cover up some of the flesh of her body?

Thank you Lady Gaga but your inspiration is too much, many women tend to “gagalise” everyday forgetting that yours are public stunts.

Well, women are making strides in the workplace, yet selecting what to wear to meetings, business dinners or just to the office remains a challenge.

Designers, fashion stylists and other experts say executive women make an array of mistakes, from dressing too casually to not paying attention to fit.

Truth is, most executive women won’t be making it onto any best-dressed lists anytime soon, given a chance .

“Clothing is an overlooked component in many women’s professional life,” said Ivy Mary Makoni a lifestyle guru coach.

In a world where first impressions count for everything and “people are sizing you up and sizing you down, appearance and clothing are so important”.

I have picked some of the major worst mistakes women make when dressing for work and how to avoid them.

When it comes to dressing for work, there’s no such thing as one size fits all.

Remember to dress for the company that is paying your salary, avoiding clothes that clash with your corporate culture.

For investment banks workers, they require conservative suits, usually in neutral colours, while individuality and creative flair are expected in fields such as advertising, journalism, art or film.

Whatever the style, your dressing should always convey professionalism.

Remember you want to be a trusted adviser to your clients, when they are looking at you they should see an intelligent person.

Above all, remember that what flies in one office might not work so well in another.

Don’t be afraid to modify your clothing to fit the culture.

You can alter your clothes to make them work for the office.

Another offence is wearing the same old clothes again and again and again.

Gosh, unless it is a uniform.

When shopping for the office, most women head straight for the same designer or store.

While it’s easy to stick with what has worked before, this is the quickest way to look dated.

Instead, vary your designers and shop at different stores to create looks that are fresh.

Another great way to update your office look is to try more cutting-edge brands.

And of course, patterned tights, scarves and earrings can work in dozens of combinations to liven up a neutral suit.

Finally, don’t forget that a work wardrobe begins with great basics.

Most crucial: one great suit and shirts in your most complimentary colours.

Golden tip is, every woman should also own a jacket; gray flannel, brown and black pants; and brown and black boots and pumps.

Everyone should know that you should avoid clothes that are too tight or too skimpy. But some of the women seem to forget that and go to the office in outfits that are threatening to burst at the seams or barely covering the essentials. It does not look sexy, but cheap.

If your clothing is overly revealing, you may have difficulty getting attention for your ideas.

The look may work for Bev and Zoey’s offices but not anywhere else.

When choosing work outfits, stick to items with a contemporary cut and avoid anything that is ill-fitting or too large. “Wearing something that fits you well will give you that extra boost of confidence,” said Tariro Makanga.

She said this while offering some shopping advice at a local store during the festive season.

In most cases, that means taking store-bought clothes to a tailor.

Even musicians like Beyonce get their clothes tailored.

Unless you work in fashion, wearing the latest trends to work is a no-no, as wearing overly trendy clothing can overshadow your work accomplishments.

While it’s important to avoid looking too trendy, this shouldn’t translate into wearing plain clothes.

Women shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk and play with colours, prints and fabrics.

Don’t forget you are a woman, you don’t have to dress like a man.

Here is my quick guideline for office wear.

1. Your neckline should never be lower than 4 inches below your collarbone.

2. Sleeveless tops should extend to the edges of your shoulders. No spaghetti straps allowed.

3. When in doubt, wear pumps.

4. Jeans necessitate more formal pairings, like a blazer and smart oxfords.

5. Make sure all items are pressed and as wrinkle-free as possible.

6. Don’t go overboard with print mixing. A subtle stripe and floral is on point.

7. If you wear a slightly sheer top, make sure to top it with a blazer. Wear a camisole underneath to be extra safe.

8. The safest hemline is at the knee. Never go shorter than a few inches above the knee.

9. If you want to wear a bold piece like printed pants, balance it with polished items, like a crisp white blouse.

10. Dress to impress not to express.

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