It turns out, it’s not just you who stares blankly at your wardrobe for minutes, tries three outfits on and ends up going with what you ‘always’ wear. Half of women surveyed by clothing brand The Fold and London Business School said they struggled to figure out what to wear in the morning before work.
The report also found most women thought dressing appropriately for work was “crucial” and that getting it right could help them reach career goals. So no pressure then.
The Out Loud team discuss why women are finding it so hard to decide what to wear in the morning before work. Post continues.
But dressing for work doesn’t have to be a daily struggle, says Sydney stylist Alarna Hope. The image consultant, who specialises in helping people design their work wardrobe, tells Mamamia there are some simple rules to follow to make sure you’re always looking schmick.
Let’s start with what to avoid…
1. Anything that looks like you’ve put zero effort in
It’s sad, but it’s true – people will judge you for your unironed shirt, too-long, dragging pants and your scruffed-up shoes. Sorry. Alarna says turning up looking dishevelled can send a message that you don’t care about your workplace and even make people question your ability.
“It only takes a few seconds for someone to make a judgement about you based on your personal appearance and even though you may be fantastic at your job, if you look unorganised or sloppy, that reflects on you and your employer.”
Alarna also recommends taking your work shoes to a cobbler once every six months for a touch-up to ensure they’re looking professional.
Obviously, leggings and track pants aren’t appropriate for work (unless you work at Lorna Jane) but unfortunately, jeggings should also stay out of the workplace, says Alarna.
“I think jegging and legging type pants belong outside of the office, they stretch out too quickly and can make you look sloppy,” she tells Mamamia.
“Invest in good quality clothing, in all aspects of your wardrobe and you’ll always look more put together.”
What your colleagues really mean when they say these common phrases. Post continues.
3. Anything that doesn’t fit properly
“The other area I think that’s important is fit,” says Alarna.
“If your clothes are too tight, they’ll crease faster and they can show things like underwear lines and where you’re tucking your tops in.”
Alarna also recommends thinking about how your top might gape if you bend over or if there’s a skirt you need to constantly pull down while wearing.
4. The wrong underwear
While most of us know to avoid the dreaded VPL (visible panty line) with the right pair of undies, Alarna reminds us to also think about the colour – it could be too dark and visible under the fabric.
“It’s also smart to keep bra straps out of sight,” she says.
“If you find that your shirts are constantly gaping at the buttons because of your bust, try wearing a shirt in the next size up and have darts put in the back of it. A good tailor can do this for you.”
As for what to wear to work, Alarna has some super simple tips to help make the morning less frantic.
Check for a dress code. “Sometimes companies have certain colours they want you to wear for branding purposes and it’s a good idea to check these things before shopping.”
Take a lead from your boss. Alarna recommends taking cues from what those in the level above you are wearing when choosing items for your work wardrobe. “Don’t try to out-do your boss, just step up your work style so you always look well presented, like someone who your employer would be proud to have representing their business.”
Dress as a slightly more professional version of you. “At work, your attire should be a slightly more conservative version of your personal style.”
Do corporate-style without getting boring. If your office requires you to wear a suit Alarna says this doesn’t mean it has to be black and boring. “Pick a dark colour you love and find a suit in that colour. I picked up a dark plum suit from Sportscraft that I can mix with neutrals like white, grey, black and beige – picking a colour for your basics keeps things interesting and helps you stand out for the right reasons.”
Don’t forget the accessories. A nice necklace makes a simple outfit more interesting. “A subtle watch can make you look more organised and also adds a little glitz to your outfit.”
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud in your favourite podcast app.