Some offices require a business casual or even dressier wardrobe. Others don’t care if you come in wearing shorts and a t-shirt (hello, Austin!). But some studies have shown that dressing a bit more professionally at work can influence your mood and make you more productive. You don’t need to wear power suits every day, but if you try to dress up a little bit at work sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Follow these easy steps below to make sure you feel comfortable and look great.
1. Find your size.
I don’t have the money to get my clothes tailored and I’m willing to bet that most of you don’t either. That’s why it’s important to try on a variety of sizes and cuts of clothing until you find the right fit. It’s no secret that sizes vary widely between brands so you’ll have to visit many a fitting room before you find clothes that fit just so. (I know that facing the mirror is harrowing sometimes–be brave, soldier.) When you find something that fits, it feels comfortable yet tailored, and perfect; not to mention it makes you look great! A good fit is definitely the key to finding the most flattering clothes.
2. Choose a few well-made pieces rather than many poorly manufactured ones.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on your wardrobe. I know that Target clearance rack calls out to you like a beacon on a foggy night. But if those leggings rip the first time you wear them, how much money did you really save? Do your research and find brands that make reliable clothing that lasts. If you invest in a good, sturdy pair of jeans you’ll never want to wear anything else!
3. Stick with classic basics and add accessories or details to make them unique.
A basic pair of pants looks snazzy when it has a pattern on it. Or stick with a pair of flats, a skirt, and a shirt with embellishments on the collar. Use sweater clips to make your average cardigan stand out. Little details can make something basic look unique and compelling, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
4. Venture outside of your comfort zone with regard to style.
Don’t let body image stop you from trying on what turns out to be a killer dress. Try things on before you decide they’re not for you. Sure, maybe you know you’re not into pleather-trimmed sweaters, but trying new things could leave you pleasantly surprised.
5. But don’t be a slave to fashion.
This means staying true to what you like but not falling into every new trend the second it hits the market. There’s a difference between style and fashion–you can look great without experimenting with midriff shirts and velvet leggings (but more power to you if you want to rock those!).
Finally, these tips are only suggestions. Use them as a guideline for dressing for productivity and confidence at work. You’re a professional, so don’t sell yourself short!
Also by Samantha: 5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Increase Productivity at Work
Images: J. Crew; pinkpurse on flickr; Madewell; J. Crew; Modcloth; American Apparel.