Caroline Issa, working it
Dress codes are confusing at the best of times, but figuring out what to wear to work can be the HARDEST thing (so is office etiquette in general, TBH). So we're going by that old saying 'dress for the job you want, not the job you have'…because we've tried it and it gave us more confidence (as well as making us feel good in our outfits). Just follow a few simple tips and the boardroom is your oyster…
1. Get ready before you come to work
This might seem glaringly obvious, but no one wants to sit next to the girl who uses her desk like a Boots make-up counter. And your boss definitely won’t see your 15 minutes of Kardashian contouring as effective time management.
2. Avoid wearing anything that could be prefixed with the word ‘too’
Too tight, too short, too bright, too much perfume... you want to stand out, but for your professional skills as well as your sartorial choices. Certainly not for that Shakespeare slogan tee you wear that says, ‘I Love My Willy’ (our fashion features editor has a real life experience of this).
3. Really consider your shoes
Are those thigh-high boots appropriate for the office? Will a pair of six-inch heels actually be able to get you from one meeting to the other in time? We’re not saying you should wear trainers, but practicality is important. Plus it’s easier to concentrate when your feet don’t hurt, so go for a lower-block heel or a flat.
4. Don’t lose your personality
Just because you need to be well groomed doesn’t mean you need to look like an office robot. Don’t be scared of colour and print; even the strictest dress codes are unlikely to send you to HR because you wore yellow instead of navy pinstripes.
5. Don’t drop your standards
Even if you have a casual dress code that seems to involve no dress code whatsoever, don’t dress like you’re a teenager who doesn’t know how to use the washing machine or the iron and whose mum went on holiday. T-shirts with stains, creased blouses and tatty ballet pumps that have worn right through to the toe are no way to express that you have eyes on the MD’s job.
6. Never underestimate the power of tailoring
Throw a blazer over anything and you instantly look more professional, no matter what you’ve got on underneath. Tailoring can also make you feel more professional – we’re currently really into power trousers (but worn with Adidas Stan Smiths).
7. We know you’re ambitious and everything
…but never dress exactly like your boss. You want them to see you’re keen for a promotion, not that you think you can do their job better and want their office for your own. Besides, it’s creepy.
8. The old rules are still the best
OK, it’s not 1967, but some points still apply. Fitted, not tight (save the bodycon for the weekend). Hemlines should be no more than one biro above the knee (face it, you’ve never seen your boss in a miniskirt); nothing too low-cut, and definitely no side boobs (that last one is a new rule but we’ve witnessed it recently!).