Years ago I ran a series on The Elgin Avenue called Ask MB. Readers would submit wardrobe dilemmas and I would answer their queries as best I could. Recently a PR friend of mine suggested that a series along the lines of Style magazine’s Wardrobe Mistress (which is one of my favourite mag columns) would be a great fit for the blog. Let it not be said that I don’t listen to suggestions, and so, I’m reviving the Ask MB series under a new title – Ask Monica – for a fresh round of queries!
Have a wardrobe dilemma? Drop me a line, or leave me a message on social media using #AskMonica.
Q: I dress casually and on trend in my free time, but for work we have a smart corporate dress code. I am bored of ‘work’ clothes, and want to know how to inject some personality into my workwear.
Question submitted by Victoria, 29.
A: For most of us, our time at work amounts to the majority of our week, which means you absolutely should be wearing things which you love and feel great in! Corporate offices often opt for for conservative dress codes, however there are a number of ways to inject personality into your workwear.
Below are three tips for doing so:
1: Invest in quality suits. A suit is your ‘corporate anchor’. You will always look smart in tailoring which allows a little more freedom with what you chose to pair it with.
Really take the time to find a suit which works for your shape. If you are petite try a cropped ankle on cigarette trousers; if you’re tall try a fit which creases ever so slightly around your ankle.
Paying a little more for good quality, and/or an alteration at a tailor, will be the best money you spend in your workwear wardrobe.
Look for fabrics like wool and silk which will hang beautifully and stand the test of time. In terms of colour, navy blue is incredibly chic, as is classic black. Blush is an option for the warmer months too.
Once you have invested in a couple of suits, you can mix and match the bottom and top halves. Try black trousers with a blush jacket. Equally if you’ve found a pair of trousers you love, stock up on a few different blazers to rotate. You don’t need to wear matching suits to look smart. Remember: there are a whole host of suit shapes out there; play with proportions to find a fitting which feels ‘you’.
. SHOP SUITS .
2. Printed, or colourful blouses. Prints are a great way of injecting style into an outfit. Steer clear of miniature florals (too chintzy), and instead opt for polka dots, or artsy prints.
Colour is always a lovely way to bring life into a look; this is your opportunity to show your personality.
In terms of shapes, look for elbow length or full length sleeves. If your office allows it, a sleeveless blouse buttoned up to the neck can look very chic.
Aim to have five blouses which work with your suits. This way you can rotate. Make sure to put your silk blouses in for dry cleaning, or hand wash, over the weekend so that you have them ready for work (and panic free mornings) for the week ahead.
. SHOP PRINTED BLOUSES & COLOURFUL SHIRTS .
3. Desk – date dresses. Think about it, if you change the accessories, would this dress work as well for a date as it does for the office? Double your investment on your dresses by looking for shapes and colours which make you feel a million bucks, whilst ticking the boxes for a smart work environment. Stick to structured silhouettes or wrap dresses. You’ll feel confident and sassy at the office, which translates if you’re headed for drinks after work.
. SHOP DESK – DATE DRESSES .
Finally the accessories that will work with ANY workwear outfit:
How do you guys find dressing for work? For those of you that work in a corporate environment do you struggle with dressing for the office? Or do you have tricks for injecting personality too?
If you have an #AskMonica query of your own – share in the comments below, drop me an email, or submit on my social channels. I can’t wait to answer the next query!
Love, Monica x