Are you looking to achieve career success with your personal style? Embracing your personal style at work can boost your self-confidence, increase credibility, and set you apart from others. In this post, I explore why embracing and balancing professionalism with your personal style matters, the most common office dress codes, and share tips on how to incorporate your personal style into your work attire.
IN THIS POST
Why Embracing Personal Style At Work Matters
First impressions matter. Studies have even shown that it only takes 7 seconds for others to form their first impression of us. Did you also know that non-verbal communication dominates 80% of how others view us? This includes our facial expressions, body language and how we dress! That's why we must be strategic in how we present ourselves at work and one way of doing so is leveraging our personal style. Embracing personal style at work not only boosts our self-confidence and image but can help us build a memorable personal brand.
Benefits of embracing and balancing personal style at work
Personal style says a lot about our values and interests. It is how we communicate who we are and what we stand for in a visual form. Many of us will spend an average of 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, so it is only fitting that we are able to embrace our style and balance it with how we show up professionally. By embracing and balancing personal style with professionalism, you can cultivate a unique personal brand that sets you apart from others in the workplace.
Embracing personal style in the workplace:
Boosts self-confidence and image, enabling you to feel comfortable, authentic and empowered, especially during presentations and business meetings.
Helps combat Imposter Syndrome by reminding us of our unique strengths, qualities and capabilities fostering a sense of belonging.
Creates a memorable personal brand that sets you apart from colleagues and boosts your image.
Understanding office dress codes
There are a number of dress codes that influences how an employee shows up in the workplace. Therefore, understanding your company's dress code and appearance policy is essential in balancing your personal style in a professional manner at work. Reading your workplace policies, observing the work culture and talking with management or HR will allow you to identify what is appropriate and professional. Keep in mind, that the key to successfully embracing your personal style at work is to understand and adhere to dress codes.
4 Common Types of Dress Codes in the Workplace
1. Business Formal or "Corporate"
Where: Senior/executive positions in corporate offices like Law, Finance, and Politics
Key Elements: Darker colours, traditional pants/skirt suits, strict dress code (i.e dark full-length pantsuit)
Vibe: Authorative & credible
2. Business Professional/Casual
Where: Positions in Administration, Education, Health Care, Non-profits, Marketing, Customer Service, Sales
Key Elements: Colour and pattern flexibility, less traditional but still professional (i.e blouse + knee length dress skirt)
Vibe: Warm & professional
3. Smart Casual
Where: In creative industries like Retail/Fashion, Arts, Tech, Marketing
Key Elements: Individualized/modern with professional and casual pieces mixed together (i.e blazer + tank + denim)
Vibe: Friendly & approachable
4. Casual or "Casual Fridays"
Where: Casual or non-customer-facing like Tech support, Start-ups, Early Education, Community Services
Key Elements: Clean casual pieces that are put together (i.e knit top + jeans)
Vibe: Comfortable & laidback
Incorporating personal style into your work attire
Believe it or not, how you dress plays a powerful role in influencing decisions and how others perceive you in the workplace. So why not leverage your personal style to command your presence and achieve success?
5 ways you can incorporate personal style into your workwear:
1. Use of statement pieces. If your work culture is more open and creative, incorporate statement pieces into your outfit. From a unique pair of shoes to an eye-catching pattern or bold colours.
2. Experiment with colours, textures and patterns. Identify appropriate colours for work and incorporate different tones, shades and textures into your work outfit.
3. Explore different cuts, fits and silhouettes. If you work in an office where bold colours and patterns might be too out there, consider exploring different blazer fits and trouser silhouettes.
4. Accessorize for added personal touch. Add personality to your work outfit with your favourite eyewear, scarf, belt, jewelry or even a brooch.
5. Play up on styling details like layering, cuffing and tucking. Styling details is what often sets an outfit apart from the rest and is what contributes to your signature style. Add interest to your work outfit by layering cardigans and shirts or cuffing your sleeves or pants.
Embracing personal style in the workplace can enhance your image and boost confidence, as long as it is balanced with the appropriate attire for the work. The key to balancing your personal style with professional attire is to understand your workplace dress code, your role, daily responsibilities and work culture. Once you have a clear understanding of those aspects you can then identify where they align with your values, interests and style and incorporate unique style details, that's speaks to you.
Ready to embrace your personal style in the workplace? Download my Ultimate Wardrobe E-Guide now and discover how to plan, audit, declutter, organize, and curate a functional wardrobe that represents your personal style.