Photo: Instagram / @nicolewarne
Modern day power dressing can mean a lot of things to different women. To some, it’s wearing something that is authentic to them and is comfortable so they can naturally feel empowered and confident in the workplace. To others, it’s dressing in sharper clothing that exude strength and authority. Though there isn’t a set formula for today’s definition of power dressing, it can be important in helping you boost your credibility in the workplace. People form a lot of subconscious impressions about us based on appearances. This includes body language, posture and essentially, the way we dress.
By carefully selecting the right colours and silhouettes to don, you can give others at the workplace a better impression of your competence and trustworthiness. And that’s important when it comes to being taken seriously at work and advancing your career. From choosing outfits with a stronger, more structured shape to opting for a monochromatic colour scheme that’s cohesive, scroll down below for the tips to note for making a lasting good impression in the workplace.
1. Opt for structured clothing
Consider the fervance of bold power shoulders in the ‘80s when most women first started out in the corporate world. Structured tailoring and strong squared-up shoulders gave women an empowered stance, which helped to boost their confidence and gave them a look that commanded more authority in the workplace. Likewise, add definition to your look by sharpening your look with a well-tailored blazer of good quality. Immaculate tailored trousers that hold their shape, fitted dresses with body contouring seams and sheath dresses will look immaculate and help you accentuate your frame.
2. Pay attention to textures
When it comes to fabric, opt for wovens instead of knits as knits offer a more casual look. Textures such as tweed, houndstooth, and other wrinkle-resistant fabrics can help you look polished and professional throughout the day – unsightly creases and puckers may cause you to look slightly sloppy and hence lose you some credibility when it comes to setting a good impression in front of your colleagues.
3. Choose a colour scheme that is analogous
It may be common practice to choose a stark colour contrast when it comes to wearing colours in the workplace. This means pairing a brightly coloured silk shirt with say, a black or white blazer and skirt combination. Though this tried-and-tested method may work, a cohesive, curated colour palette can exude understated elegance and sophistication.
Stick to a colour scheme, be it blush and neutrals, different shades of greys, or dark blues. This will help your outfit look put together and visually pleasing. When you look strategic in your choice of colours, it also reveals your organisational and managerial skills. Experiment with different shades and saturations of colours in the same family when putting a look together, one benefit of employing a monochromatic colour scheme is that the individual hues almost always complement each other seamlessly. Doing this can also help you develop your own signature style that’s identifiable to others, which brings us to our next point…
4. Create an instantly recognisable signature look
Creating a signature style helps you get identified and recognised by your overall flair. Whether you choose to make a statement with a consistent style of clothing, an accessory or even a set colour scheme, having a style that is representative of you can help you look steadfast and reliable in the eyes of others. You could be a fan of contemporary layering and oversized tailoring circa Phoebe Philo’s Celine, or you tend to gear towards a blazer-and-tailored-trouser combo Tom Ford-style. Either way, try sticking to one aesthetic and experiment with mixing and matching individual pieces so that your looks never end up looking tired and repetitive.
When you develop a strong sense of personal style you are comfortable with, you naturally exude confidence and you give others the impression that you are also consistent in other parts of your life. People like having a sense of security, so playing to this factor would ultimately work well in your favour.
5. Avoid anything that can be distracting
When you’re at work, you’ll want others to focus on you and the content of your work. So avoid anything that will take away from that and summon attention to a particular part of your attire.
Wearing bold and bright solid colours are perfectly fine as they could potentially set you apart from the sea of navy and neutrals, but always try to ground them with neutral-coloured accessories, shoes or clothing. The same rule applies for prints and patterns. They’re great, and they show that you’re comfortable enough in your own skin to bring out your personality through your choice of dressing instead of sticking to the conservative business dressing. But avoid clashing prints on prints at the workplace. Sure, it’s trendy, but it can still look distracting.
When you’re seated at a meeting, huge statement earrings and chunky necklaces could take the attention away from what you’re saying and trying to convey, so it’s best to stick to understated and elegant jewellery that will complement your look, not steal the show.
It goes without saying that you’ll want to be dressed appropriately as well – nothing too revealing such as short skirts or low plunging necklines so as to demonstrate your respect for the workplace and your profession
6. Pay attention to details
It’s important to show your superiors and colleagues that you are meticulous and careful in other aspects of your life, and this can be impactfully shown through your attire – and grooming. Make sure your hair isn’t unkempt, your nails are neatly trimmed or manicured, and you look clean, neat and presentable with an appropriate amount of makeup even on days where you’re not meeting any clients. Keep your clothes ironed and wrinkle-free, you’ll make an impression that you’re immaculate and you know how to take care of yourself. And when you demonstrate self-respect, you’ll appear as someone who has a good sense of self-worth and believes in herself.
7. Make sure you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing
It all boils down to the simplest factor: You have to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. When you feel like you are your best self, and what you’re wearing feels authentic to your personality and lifestyle, you’ll naturally have a more positive attitude and feel more empowered. People can pick up on this energy. It can also be distracting having to worry about a fabric pinching you the wrong way, a scratchy skirt, a too-tight zipper or a dress that’s too short when what you really want to do is focus at work. All in all, confidence and a positive mindset is your best accessory.