I don’t know about you but deciding on the right outfit for a day in the office takes time. I had been conditioned to make sure I dress with style and taste as well as appropriateness. Looking nice and professional at the same time is the goal. Always attempting to incorporate a fashion statement into that goal. Had to find the suit that didn’t conform to the norm. Then match with a pair of colorful shoes and lets not forget to add the accessories. I never wanted to look like everyone else yet there was a protocol that existed in my daily decision. Times have changed over the years and in some cases to the extreme at the workplace.
For me, I enjoyed putting together an outfit for the day. I can remember when you had to wear stockings or socks with your shoes. Ties, collared shirts and jackets were the norm even in ninety degree weather. There was a time when stockings, socks and ties seem to be less required in the attire for a normal day. Then moved away from jackets and dress slacks to polo with khaki pants. Shoes moved to a more casual mode as well. As suits seemed to pass, more relaxed look of skirts and tops came into play. Then wearing your sheath dress without the jacket. It seems to be trending even more casual these days. Jeans offered on certain days to everyday. I still would find a way to dress up with my jeans. I always wanted to feel good about the day and my clothes were the start of that day. I always work some sort of dress shoe regardless of outfit, except when I went in on the weekends. On the weekend, it felt like a time to be comfortable and so I generally would. Sometimes even wearing sneakers!
The fashion industry has adapted to the more casual option in the office. In the past few years we see more casual business like attire being more readily available. As we make these casual wear choices it is still important to maintain and not show off too much skin for some. There are some trendy looks that are very attractive. We should always make sure we are making choices for an entire day interacting with a variety of people. Obviously, the industry you are in may lend to a more relaxed and revealing attire which is another consideration.
In today’s times we see the personal shopper coming forward. You join a club and they pick outfits to send to you to try and keep in you like. More and more of these type of shopping experiences are popping up everywhere. I recently found Amazon introduced ‘Prime Wardrobe’ shopping. You may pick at least three items to try before you buy for seven days. It offers the opportunity to see what you like before you actually pay for the item. It is the trend we see and not surprised Amazon following suit. Speaking of suits, it is also obvious that stores are carrying less suits for women. Many are moving to an online shopping offering of suits instead. The decline in suit sales seems to be staggering as the casual business dress grows.
Interestingly, allowing staff members to dress more casual intends to stimulate creativity. You see large organizations like Google pave the way on casual dress. I can remember when I was working at a dot com company and the dress was so casual that my casual dress was deemed too dressy. I had to put an effort in to be more casual. I struggle to wear the same tee shirt I would wear on the weekend in the office. I found a casual groove that worked for me and was acceptable within the organization. As I moved on in my career I continue to be conscious of the company and their culture in the area of business dress. It was a good lesson that I carry with me still today.
For me, dressing in the morning sets the tone and as such I do so for me with the company in mind. My hope is that we do not lose the side of creativity even in how we dress for the office each day. And that we continue to be individuals, bring color, innovation and style with us as we enter through the office doors. That we do this with the right mindset of going to work and not the club or a date. I am of the opinion that the first impression still counts and, in many cases, so does each day thereafter. Dress to impress is my motto even in jeans!