If you are a “business bro” you are likely facing a conundrum that is proving to be a challenge for working men across the country: what should I wear to work? Think back over the last year or so of home office working, typing at your laptop from the kitchen table – what have you been wearing? Likely something comfy, a cosy hoodie and a pair of old sweatpants. In some instances, you might not have even gotten out of your pyjamas. However, as many workers move back to the office, it’s sadly time to crawl out from beneath the blankets, hang up your slippers, and get back to appropriate work attire.
The problem is that the spectrum of appropriate work attire is so broad, the specifications so vague, you might be a little confused, or completely overwhelmed, by the prospect of redoing your wardrobe to fit in with the post-pandemic normality of the office. If you are looking for some fresh ideas to change up your formal fashion, you’ve come to the right place.
The Work Fashion Game Has New Rules
In terms of work fashion rules, it’s definitely a case of out with the old and in with the new. The fact that the old rules about dressing for work have been thrown out of the window is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in the fact that you have more chances to show off your style, and you can go beyond the limiting ensemble of a suit, shirt, and tie. The curse comes with the fact that you also have just as much chance of completely messing it up. A lot of what is appropriate depends on the kind of office environment you are part of. Let’s look into a few different kinds of offices to see what the “norm” may be:
Your Home Office: If you are still working from home, or following a hybrid model of working, there are still some things to think about when it comes to your work attire. You can do a lot for your mental health, frame of mind and productivity, by actually taking the time to put some clothes on (more than just your boxer briefs.) While the outfit can be a lot more relaxed than what you would wear to the office, it’s good for your mind if you can put some effort in and act as if you were going there. It might not sound appealing, but I promise you will feel more effective and productive if you have a shower, do something with your hair, and put some smart (and of course, comfy) clothes on to start your day.
The Creative Office: This would be the perfect place to match a pair of jeans with a sophisticated graphic t-shirt and some smart lace-up boots or shoes. Put a little thought into the ensemble and even this casual-sounding collection will make the right impact. You will show off your creative flare while also showing an element of professionalism at the same time.
The In-Between Office: If your office is a place of variety, of both a business and casual atmosphere, you can opt for an in-between kind of look when it comes to your clothing choice too. You can walk the fine line between casual and business with a smart yet relaxed knitted polo, together with some non-jean pants, dress shoes and bold white socks.
The Suited and Booted Office: At the other end of the spectrum is the formal office. For a toned-down look, you can take your “in-between office” outfit and throw a blazer over the top. Get yourself a smart coat, a briefcase and polished shoes and you’re well into the realms of smart business attire. If you need to take things up a notch for meetings and bigger occasions, add a necktie, and even a pocket square if you’re feeling fancy, to complete the look.
Be Ready to Dress to Impress
Evidently, both work and life call for quite a varying repertoire when it comes to clothes you need to have in your closet. If you need to rethink your whole wardrobe, it can feel like a scary and daunting prospect. However, try your best not to panic! Here are three simple tips to get you started in the right direction:
- Start a collection of ties. By this, I mean more than three variations of blue ties that you keep in the bottom of the closet. While that would be a good place to start to create a sharp outfit with style and confidence, see if you can be a little braver and expand your collection. Even if you only have one or two suits, the tie you add to complete the look can keep it new and fresh. It’s a lot cheaper than buying more suits but it goes a long way in freshening up your look.
- Invest in a well-fitting suit. If you are going to buy a suit, make sure to get a well-fitting one. Classic suits rarely go out of style, so the biggest mistake you can make in what you choose is choosing one that doesn’t fit you properly. People are more likely to notice an ill-fitting suit than a regularly worn suit, so even if you can just afford the one to get you started, you’ll stand yourself in good stead with a smart, tailored outfit.
- Get inspired. If you are feeling like your looks are getting a little samey or stale, work to find some inspiration. Read up on the different trends in blogs and magazines, browse for ideas on Pinterest and social media, or even ask for help and advice from someone you trust to have good taste.
Reassuringly, the transition from the couch to the staff room doesn’t have to be a painful one. Having confidence in your outfit and style will go a long way in helping you to get settled into your new routine and find joy in your job.