Just landed your first job or an internship gig at a corporate firm, and wondering how to dress appropriately without compromising on your style?
While a large number of offices globally are no longer specifically dictating dress codes, when you enter an office, it is important to understand that your clothes should not be a distraction. But you can still be a follower of trends, be it balletcore or bowcore, and wear clothes that reflect your creative-thinker side.
How an outfit fits you is a good way to start building the workwear wardrobe. Esha Bhambri, the co-founder of clothing brand House of Fett, says the basic, first rule to successful office attire is wearing something that’s well-fitted. “Add your personality through colours, patterns and unique accessories, like a colourful scarf or a distinctive watch to express individuality,”— basically have fun, but stay within limits.
Playing with silhouettes and layering is another way to stay trendy, within limits. Stylist Yashasvvi Jagparvesh Mehlawat offers an example in case you want to channel your soft side or amp up the boss vibe. “For a soft, feminine look, you can try skirts below blazers, and add some definition with a belt. You can go for satin skirts, pleated skirts, even dresses under blazers,” Mehlawat suggests. “You can even play with different styles of sleeves or collars.”
For the boss-girl look, start by experimenting with different styles of trouser lengths—be it culottes or chinos with flare. “Layering with monotones, neutrals, blazers, poplin shirts, colourful prints can help create impact,” Mehlawat adds.
Some offices allow for casualwear only on certain days of week, though. “This is your window to experiment. For current trends such as balletcore, you can pick out elements like stockings in the winter, ballet flat footwear that have made a comeback on international runway, and maybe a ribbon accessory on the hair,” says stylist Bharat Gupta. “On other days when formal is the dress code, basics like neutral tones, and well-tailored and structured looks, and add a personal touch with accessories like a nifty laptop bag or work bag, a printed pocket square, even a quirky bow-tie.”
In other words, office clothes that are high on fashion trends, yet suitable for a corporate workplace, involve a subtle interplay of textures, silhouettes, colours and prints. Choosing a focal piece, such as a uniquely textured scarf or a thoughtfully patterned blouse, is another way to stand out fashionably, while striking a balance in your fashion approach to officewear.
You can add a pop of colour in terms of a nice pair of heels, statement belt or a lip colour. “In terms of textures—be it plaid, ikat, mohair, tweed, suede, poplin organza or tweed—one can make a monotone outfit interesting by adding different textures in the same colour,” says Mehlawat.
This way your clothes would be less “look-at-me” and more “look-how-creative-I-am”, and that’s always a plus in the office.
Manish Mishra is a Delhi-based writer and content creator.