A major part of our waking lives is spent in offices so why not dress up chic everyday instead of reserving it for outings. A ‘cubicle lifestyle’ shouldn’t keep you away from adding life to your wardrobe. To gain insight into workplace fashion we spoke to three industry experts.
Know your office
There are no universal dress codes at work so dress to reflect your job and work environment. “If you are working in a sombre law firm or a creative advertising firm, it can vary from casual to conservative and stylish to young but at any cost dressing slouchy is a no. Create a versatile style in accordance to industry standards that suits your personality,” says Chennai-based fashion designer Jules Idi Amin.
A clean, functional and presentable look will give you an air of confidence and help you feel good. An office with people who look like they just dragged themselves out of bed would be totally uninspiring. Renowned etiquette expert Diane Gottsman says, “People judge you based on the image you project. The first impression is the best impression, so it’s important to make a positive impact with your professional image, among other leadership qualities. Make every effort to appear professional and polished. Weekend wear is different from office wear and shouldn't be confused.”
Office wear shouldn’t spell drab irrespective of whether you opt for Indian or Western. “If you like Indian wear, nothing is more pleasant than a crisp cotton sari draped to perfection or a light cotton block printed or kalamkari kurta sans embellishments paired with leggings and accessorised appropriately. Stay crisp and sharp and even if the silhouettes remain simple you can play with colours,” points out Jules.
“For relaxed work wear options especially in this heat I would advice loose trousers or formal palazzos paired with fitted tops or shirts for a western option. The same pants can be paired with long kurtas (almost ankle length) with a long slit on the sides for a modern take on Indian formal wear,” says owner of Crimson House of Style, Geetha Solaraj.
Invest in a few timeless classics and versatile pieces, which you can mix and match. Attacking a sale for these good quality items make them wallet-friendly. “A jacket, a pair of black formal trousers with tailored white shirt for those who prefer western. White kurti with tights or salwars, if you like to sport Indian wear. A well-structured pant suit and long kurtas plus well-fitted skirts should be wardrobe staples. Re-create, mix and match and accessorise right so you don’t look outdated,” says Geetha.
It’s important to go easy on festiveness in accessories and yet strike a good balance to look chic. A killer classic flat pump, great handbag and a scarf or stole can add character to otherwise sober outfits. Avoid flip-flops or floaters to work. “With a classic black trouser and white shirt a chunky neckpiece will instantly give you an oomph factor without being over the top.
A chunky bracelet, non-fussy earrings or a coloured watch adds personality to your image. Don’t try to mirror anyone if you are not comfortable. If you are comfortable wearing saris then play around with accessories and colours to be different,” adds Geetha.