Photo: Instagram / @aimeesong
There are many things that seem like a time-consuming bore for us achieving women. One of which we go through on the daily: Deliberately mulling over what to wear to work every morning. Not only can it seem exhaustive and almost purposeless on days where we wished we had time on the clock for an extra snooze, pulling a whole outfit that looks professional and immaculate takes up a lot of brainpower in the first moments of your day. And as many of us know, many successful people credited conserving their mental energy as one of the habits that led to their efficiency. Not having to worry about what to wear can free up your headspace to focus squarely on what needs to be tackled for the day and others areas of importance.
So it’s safe to say that a carefully edited and organised work wardrobe can do wonders for your work life. It’ll save you time everyday, but more importantly, you’ll also have a heightened sense of purposefulness and energy that’ll help you power through the rest of your day and in the long run, advance your career.
Read on for five easy steps you’ll need to create a smart work wardrobe that’ll ultimately help you be your 100% at work.
1. Decide on your style and colour palette
For starters, you’ll want to figure out what your own chic and easy “work uniform” will look like.
When it comes to identifying your signature look and building a consistent style that’s entirely your own, it all boils down to what makes you feel your best.
Do blazers make you feel powerful? Do tailored pants in loud, crazy colours bring out your personality? Or does a simple LBD boost your confidence in the boardroom? We all have certain pieces that make us feel more comfortable, so it’s best to make a note of our own preferences and shop more intentionally.
Consider silhouettes as well; are you gearing towards structured, tailored pieces or more oversized, slouchy looks? Don’t forget about colour scheme. It’s easier to mix and match when you’ve got a work wardrobe built around a specific colour palette. Whether you’re going or vibrant pops of colour, dark blues and greys, or sophisticated blush and neutrals, having a colour palette that works for you cuts down loads of time when it comes to styling, and you won’t have to worry about colours clashing.
2. Invest in four to five versatile key items – and put them on a clothing rack
Now that you’ve determined your signature look, you’ll want to embrace a few garments as your hero pieces. These will be the pieces that you’ll repeat often and can wear on any given work day so it’s essential to make sure that they are items that you like the most, make you feel on top of your game, are functional and flattering on your body.
A good way to figure out what these key items would be is to start with one item or outfit that you look really good in, and absolutely love. Then expand from that idea and find other items by looking at the brand or building on the silhouette.
Get a clothing rack (you’ll be able to find some at IKEA) and lay out these items on the rack so that you’ll have a better line of vision of your key items every morning. By limiting your options, you’re simplifying your styling process. Of course, it’s also a good idea to switch around these hero pieces once in awhile so your outfits don’t get repetitive and boring.
3. Use basics to build around your key items
On top of your hero items, wardrobe staples, such as solid coloured t-shirts, button-up shirts and crisp immaculate trousers are great for pulling your ensemble together.
It all depends on the key items you’ve chosen; patterned trousers or skirts will work great for simple pared down shirts while a good quality blazer can help anchor jumpsuits and strappy dresses. Invest in good quality basics as these will be the building blocks of your work wardrobe – and they’ll surely be in heavy rotation.
4. Stick to one purse, and curate your accessories
Switching between work bags is a cumbersome task. Instead, find one carryall that looks sleek and sophisticated, works well with the colour palette of your work wardrobe, and holds all your daily essentials.
It’s important to have a go-to bag that teams well with almost everything. Invest in a high quality piece that won’t wear and tear as easily.
If you do wind up having to swap out work bags, one quick tip is to carry a smaller pouch that holds all your must-have essentials – wallet, keys, lipstick – so that you can easily pop them into any bag you wish to haul on the day itself without forgetting anything important.
For accessories, identify the jewellery that you reach for every day — this could be your favourite watch, a simple pair of gold hoop earrings or a stack of rings — and try to keep these pieces organised and placed somewhere near your door. This makes it easier for you to reach for them quickly without having to go out of your way to spruce up your outfit.
5. Have work shoes that complete just about any look
Find work shoes that you’ll get major mileage out of, such as a pair of block heels or timeless ballet flats for the office.
Comfort is a key factor to keep in mind, and keep your options down to two to three types of work shoes to simplify the styling process.
Our suggestion would be to have on hold a pair of flats for easy comfort, a dressier high heeled option and perhaps one more snazzier type such as a pair of ankle boots or loafers for days you wish to be more creative.