The Message Your Work Wardrobe Sends

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’re an established CEO, the clothes you wear to work speak a clear message about your abilities, goals and personality. From the classic little black dresses to the androgynous pantsuits, there is a wide range of office-appropriate looks. And they each send a different message. If you want to make sure that your work wardrobe is a true representation of your skills and aims, check out our pro tips on what to wear to the office.

1. I’m Confident, Ambitious and in Charge

When it comes to the quintessential ‘successful look’, there’s a certain uniform that rarely misses the mark. That’s a little black dress, classic pumps and a smart blazer. Accessorized with minimal jewelry pieces (particularly on the daintier, discreet side). This classic look is a staple in many working women’s wardrobes. But there’s no need to limit yourself to a look that’s predictable when trying to portray success and ambition.

Spice things up and ditch the little black dress for a jewel-hued streamlined number. You could also opt for head-to-toe dusty and pastel shades for an aura of elegance and sophistication. Alternatively, embrace separates in muted tones ranging from dusty pinks to classic black and white. All that paired with classic handbags and heels.

If you love an androgynous look, opt for a smart pantsuit (and no, it doesn’t have to be black). Such a look screams confidence and leadership. As for the shoes, a pair of strappy Mary Janes or d’Orsay heels can bring a creative spin to your outfit, while keeping it on the classic side. To complete the timeless ‘successful look’, opt for refined and discreet pieces of jewellery. Either go for a pair of pearl stud earrings, a dainty ring or an elegant, classic watch.

2. I’m Creative and Forward-Thinking

You work (or wish to work) in a field that is dominated by creativity? Whether it’s in the Design area, Marketing, Advertising or Publishing. If you are in need of a little inspiration when it comes to your work wardrobe and aim to get out of the little classic dress rut, be prepared! Say ‘Yes’ to prints, bold statements, quirky patterns and vibrant hues.

Basically, if you work in a creative field, you’re in luck – since you are not as constricted by rules as other niches. To perfectly portray your excellent innovative skills and forward-thinking abilities, embrace bold hues. Also, unconventional cuts, unique prints and creative accents, combined with vanguard silhouettes. Details such as peplum, ruffles, volume or draping make all the difference when it comes to communicating the key points about your personality.

To complete your look, opt for unique jewellery that departs from the classic, discreet pieces. Try a statement bangle bracelet, an unconventional pair of earrings or an artsy handbag.

3. I’m an Excellent Communicator with Great People Skills

Working in Public Relations, Sales or Human Resources requires brilliant people skills and communication abilities. To portray your aptitudes, embrace natural hues and warmer tones. You’ll look more approachable and friendly. Go for shades like camel, latte or hazelnut, combined with brighter pops of tangerine, peach or coral. These are perfect when you are trying to look welcoming and accessible. Pastel shades are also a great way to communicate warmth, especially olive greens and light lilac. And when it comes to prints, delicate, small-scale patterns in soft hues are less intimidating than bold and bright graphics. To convey your personality, embrace positive and soft patterns such as florals. But, stay away from color-blocks and sharp geometric designs.

Makeda Waterman

Makeda Waterman is an online journalist with writing features on CNBC Make It., Yahoo Finance News and the Huffington Post. She also runs an online writing business with 3.5 years of experience.

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