Women in the workplace: how to dress for success

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Women in the workplace: how to dress for success

Women in the workplace need to look good and feel confident from the inside out, but also from the outside in. You might have heard the saying, “the right clothes can transform your mood and confidence” and it’s true. When you look great, you automatically feel amazing too. Find out how to dress for success and for confidence in the workplace below. 

Have you ever stood in front of your wardrobe before work and felt like you have nothing to wear? Somehow the outfits you feel your best in don’t always jump out at you when you need them to. This may have more to do with how you selected the items for your wardrobe than you realise. Your ideal clothing choices are based on colour, style, fit, how you feel in them and so much more. The goal isn’t to have an overwhelming amount of clothes, or to have the most expensive items but more to have the clothes that work best for you and your lifestyle. 

At RecruitMyMom, we had the honour of chatting with Image Consultant, Tania de Clerk from Simplify Image, about some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to workplace wardrobe. As a fully remote team, we needed the latest tips on how to dress appropriately for hybrid and remote work so that, as women, we can look, feel and be our best no matter where we work from. 

We learned that the way we dress for work, life and motherhood says a lot about who we are and our wardrobe should be a confident, happy and clutter-free space. Tania says, “you want to look at your wardrobe and get excited about each item, knowing that it was hand-picked for you according to your likes, lifestyle and personal best. For example, if you have 3 good outfits for work and you know they work for you then that’s all you need.”

It starts with confidence and knowing your worth

The right clothes can change the game for every woman. Tania believes that every woman is made beautifully and uniquely. Which means that when it comes to the clothes we choose, everybody is different. 

Getting dressed for work does not need to be stressful, it should be easy and enjoyable. It should not take up too much time and cause us to feel insecure in our skin. Having the right clothes available in your wardrobe will boost your confidence daily and you’ll know exactly what to put on and when. Tania says that your wardrobe, “is not just a place to get dressed, it’s a personal space and it resembles how you see yourself, and want to be seen by other people.” 

From Tania’s perspective, “If we live from a place of knowing our worth and we have confidence in who we are in all aspects of our lives, then we will also have the freedom to strive for our own personal best without getting side tracked by what others think or believe about us.” This works the same with our personal style choices and what we choose to wear for work, home and everyday life. You only want the clothes accessible to you that will work for the current season or stage of life you’re in. With the right tools, these decisions on what to wear will become much easier. 

Top tips for getting dressed for the workplace

As a working mother, there is already so much to manage in life. The last thing you need is to be overwhelmed by what to put on each day. The tips below will help you navigate this so that you can easily slip into something comfortable and perfectly tailored for you.

Tip #1: Get rid of clutter

It can shake your confidence to constantly face an overwhelming and cluttered wardrobe. Anything in your wardrobe that doesn’t fit you or your lifestyle or you have not worn in a long time is clutter. 

When it comes to stained, damaged or worn out clothes then these need to be given away or used for household chores. If it doesn’t make you look and feel your best for work or match the season, then it needs to go or it needs to be stored. For example, a winter jacket can be stored until it’s time for winter again, you don’t need it to be there during summer months. 

You should have the right items in your wardrobe so that you save time and energy for more important things in life. A helpful tip here is to split your wardrobe into the various categories of your current lifestyle. For example, you can have something to wear for work, then for playing with the kids in the afternoons and then something for the weekend. 

Tip #2: Create space for storage

When you remove something seasonal from your wardrobe or even something that doesn’t fit anymore, it’s a good idea to vacuum seal it and store it somewhere to relook at in a later season. This could also be items that you have overworn. If you store these pieces and open them again in the future it’ll feel fresh and brand new again. 

Another wonderful way to store sentimental items that aren’t “your best” anymore is to invest in a memory box. 

Tip#3: Choose an appropriate style for work

Depending on your workplace and position, you could aim for a business casual look or you could dress more formally. Formal attire will make you look like an expert where business casual will make you look authentic and trustworthy. When it comes to working in an environment with men, you want to make sure you dress with authority as a woman. For example, strong, bold colours will work better than softer colours in this type of workplace.  

If your natural style is more bohemian, alluring or athleisure, then this may not be appropriate for your workplace. Save these styles for after hours, weekends and personal time. 

If you are working remotely, you could take the level of formality down a notch or two - comfort is more expected in a virtual office setting, although not completely effort-free. If you’re working in a hybrid role, make sure you dress up a little more when you are in office, but then when you’re in virtual meetings from your remote office make sure you focus on things like a flattering neckline, make up and accessories. 

Tip #4: Discover your colour, style and how to embrace your physical shape

The easiest way to choose clothes for your work wardrobe is to know your personal colour, style, physical and face shape. It is amazing how different colours can affect your face, and different clothing styles can work differently on your body shape. This is where you do not want to simply buy something because a colleague looks great in it, or because you saw it on Pinterest. Following the trends of the season can be fun but just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it is your best. You need to discover your own toolkit for your wardrobe and the unique colours that make your face glow with confidence. Some styles will work on your figure and other styles won't. 

Having the knowledge of what works for you is a great tool. When you pay attention to details that work for you, it could set you apart from another candidate when applying for work or in the workplace. First impressions are important whether you’re dealing with clients, employers or interviewers. 

“It’s my role to help guide women to see the best in themselves. To forget about the expectations of people around them and to stop comparing themselves to others, which always steals joy.” Tania continues, “When you have the tools and you can choose your best you will be more confident.” When this confidence kicks in, your mindset towards your work, family and life will change for the better. 

Tip #5: Pay attention to grooming

Looking and feeling great for work includes some of the basics. Well groomed nails, some perfume and a pretty hairstyle goes a long way. If you are working from a remote office then these details do matter. When you are in virtual meetings then the focal point is your face so it is important to put in some effort.  

The way you dress for work can also determine your headspace going into work, even if you are working remotely. Make sure your clothes fit, that they are comfortable and work appropriate. 

Tip #6:  Don’t be hard on yourself

As women, we can be so hard on ourselves at times. We don’t always look at ourselves with kind eyes. Learn to live in the moment. Embrace your femininity and wear what feels comfortable, looks great, complements your personality and highlights your natural features. Keep it simple, practical and enjoyable. 

Tania gives us her last bit of advice, “embrace all the roles that people don’t even see such as looking after family members, being a friend and a unique woman in your own right and a working professional. Remind yourself that you are a whole package and know that you are bringing beauty and value wherever you go, so when you get dressed, show up for you and then you will show up for others.” 

Written by the RecruitMyMom editorial team and Tania de Clerk from Simplify Image

Tania de Clerk, Founder of Simplify Image. Wife, mother and Image Consultant. My focus is on consultations where I give you the tools to simplify your wardrobe choices and make confident decisions to wear what you love and what suits your unique attributes and lifestyle. I draw inspiration from the most recent trends, but are not driven by them.