When you look at what fashion can do for women in the workplace, it truly is incredible.
Women who have their own professional jobs can make a huge difference in regards to how they feel themselves and are perceived by others. It can simply be done by taking an interest in the type of clothes they wear to work, and ensuring their clothes are well-fitting and comfortable.
Fashion is empowering, and not only does it give a perception of how others see you, but it can also play a massive part when it comes to how you feel about yourself, and how you approach your working day.
Of course, there are many different areas when it comes to the workplace. Some women are female professionals working across senior and managerial levels within the corporate world, who do a lot of public speaking and public-facing tasks. Presentations, pitches and client visits are all part of some women’s everyday routines, and it’s important they feel confident about themselves for every situation.
Others may work in the creative industries, where their style and how they present themselves can say a lot about their business and creative flair.
Feeling confident and empowered is hugely influenced by the clothing you choose to wear, but where do you start if you’re not sure how your wardrobe can boost your self-confidence and your work productivity?
It all starts with remembering a time that you wore a certain outfit, whether a dress, a suit, or a crisp white shirt, and it felt brilliant. It fit well, it complimented your body shape and worked well with your style and personality. Overall, it made you feel strong, beautiful and self-assured.
Well-fitted work clothes, when chosen well, can work wonders for boosting your confidence and empowering your mood. Let’s explore some tips on how to make sure you can effectively choose the right clothes for you:
Think about a time you wore an outfit and felt great
When planning your work wardrobe and what to wear for your next meeting, client pitch or general day in the office, think about when your clothes made you feel great. The key here is to think about you and only you.
If you’re a little introverted, it turns out you tend to feel more comfortable in understated outfits. Fitted t-shirts, comfy jeans, stylish shoes and a timeless handbag. If you love attention and it means a lot to you to be in everyone’s eye line, you may only feel you can thrive when wearing something a little bolder, or something that represents a high fashion trend. And that’s OK. You have to understand your own style and what makes you feel like your best self.
Try to analyze why one certain look works for you and start to replicate it when you want to have the most productive, confident day at work. If miniskirts are a trend, but you hate your legs, don’t follow the trend. You’ll only feel self-conscious. Go for a pair of flared culottes or a nice flowing midi skirt instead.
The clothes you own should empower you every day
Remember that no outfit should be more important than how you feel. Every day, you should aim to open a wardrobe and be presented with clothes that make you smile, that you can style together well, and that can be adapted to various events.
If you don’t feel good wearing a new dress that looks beautiful on the hanger but just doesn’t fit your body shape properly, then it will show all over your face. Think about this when you browse through your wardrobe in the morning, pulling out an outfit for work.
Start by making a list of the items in your wardrobe that instantly make you feel good. You know you could turn up to a presentation wearing these items and feel great and not have to worry about the fit or shape. Then, build your wardrobe around these items. Be quite specific. The more choices you give yourself, the more confusing it gets. But if you know a well-fitted long sleeve shirt works wonders with high-waisted trousers, then aim to add a few more shirts in different colours along with more trousers so you can mix and match the shades.
Use colour to separate the casual and sophisticated
Some days we feel better wearing casual clothes, but other days we feel that little more self-assured and productive wearing something more sophisticated. The key here is to understand which ensembles in your wardrobe provide both of the two looks, so you can easily identify them when getting dressed for work.
For example, you might love wearing skinny jeans and a fitted shirt for a day at the office. You may find that by wearing a cream or white shirt paired with faded blue jeans works as a great casual combination for you.
However, for those days you might be socialising with work, or you want to feel a little more important and powerful, a sophisticated version of the above is needed. Perhaps it’s a black fitted shirt with dark bootcut jeans and heels that gives you that extra boost. The clothing items are the same, but the colour choices have a huge effect.
Find a colour palette that is ‘you’, and stick to it
If you get absorbed in social media or fashion sites, you’ll find a big push on following fast fashion trends and being daring with colour. You don’t owe it to anyone to buy into this. You just owe it to yourself to wear a colour palette that works well with your personality, your job, your life, and your preferences.
Many people like to stick to a work wardrobe of black, white, navy, cream, beige and grey. Occasionally on a Friday, you might want to pair your blue jeans with a pink t-shirt, but overall, stick to a subtle colour palette that makes outfit picking easier for you. Plus, when you stick to a subtle colour palette, the attention will always be on you and what you have to say, and not on your clothes.
Above all, remember that feeling empowered and confidence at work all comes down to being comfortable and happy within yourself. Don’t worry about compliments. You don’t need anyone else’s approval – other people’s opinions should be an afterthought. When your work clothes fit you well and you feel fantastic, your personality and work ethic will shine through.
Elif Köse, Fashion Designer