As workplaces become more ‘equal’ it’s increasingly difficult for women to adopt the traditional work wardrobe of skirt-suit and shirt, and still be dressed for every potential work situation. Gone are the Mad Men days when a beehive and a twinset were appropriate workplace attire. Now women are expected to be adaptable, well-dressed and to express some personal style.
It’s quite a tall order, but here are some tips to help:
1. Jackets, particularly unstructured ones, look good whatever the circumstances, but stick to simple classic colours and don’t buy short-sleeved jackets if you want to be taken seriously. Navy, grey, black and beige are good colours, but deep greens, rust browns and white can work too, depending on the season and your workplace. For active days, a simple slimline sleeveless fleece worn over a well-tailored shirt gives the impression of being both businesslike and active.
2. A formal T-shirt: long-sleeved, round-necked and in a classic colour like white, black or navy, can give a solid appearance of professionalism whilst being casual enough to allow for an active workplace. Make sure it doesn’t gape at the back if you are lifting or bending and that the colour coordinates with the rest of your wardrobe.
3. Accessories can help add style to your look. Antique brooches or really good vintage scarves give you substance and, where permitted, elegant rings or bracelets can bring a touch of acceptable glamour. In a workplace where no such accessories are possible, a printed T-shirt with a really stylish image can bring your look to life without compromising safety or hygiene.