How to Look Chic in a Dressed Down Workplace

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Casual office dress codes are now pretty much the norm in some industries, particularly if you work in tech or media and are not in a client facing role. Some other offices do keep a business casual dress code, but have dress down days on Fridays as a weekly thing for staff to look forward to.

However, for some people, the casual environment can actually be harder to dress for than a smarter one! If you are someone who feels more ‘ready to work’ when they are wearing professional looking clothes than when they are in comfy jeans, or someone who just prefers a more glamorous style whatever they are doing, then putting on the casual work staples of jeans and a sweater or t-shirt can feel quite uninspiring. After all, work is where you spend a good amount of your time and have many of your social interactions, so you want it to be somewhere you can show off your own personal style if that is something important to you!

If you are looking to upgrade your work wardrobe to a more chic look without feeling out of place in your casual workplace, here are some ideas:

Casual Luxury

One easy way to immediately feel more stylish if your office is a sea of jeans and sneakers is to go for more luxurious versions of the same things. Some beautifully cut designer jeans or some gorgeous Gucci shoes can add some fashionable touches while still keeping with the tone of your office, and not leaving you feeling overdressed. If you are looking for some inspiration for high end fashion with a relaxed, casual feel then check out SSENSE, which has the latest Gucci sneakers as well as collections from chic designer labels like Off White and Balenciaga.

Smarter Casuals

If what you find more difficult is simply getting into the mindset of having meetings and doing all your other professional things while you’re dressed in clothes you associate more with laid back weekend activities, then it can help you feel more in ‘work mode’ if you go for clothes at the smarter end of the casual spectrum. For women, this can mean things like sweater dresses, blazer style jackets, and linen in summer, or simple pants with nice, fitted tops. Just avoiding denim or sportswear and wearing boots or other less formal shoes rather than sneakers can help you mentally separate your weekend stuff from your business attire.

The Immaculate Look

Another thing to think about is that even when you are wearing very casual things like leggings or tees, you can feel a lot more ‘put together’ if you actually are. Make sure everything is crease free and immaculately clean, and that you’ve styled your hair and make-up, and you can feel more like you are dressed up and want to be seen than if you just dress and go as you would if you were just running out to the store. Sometimes adding some accessories like a belt, jewelry and scarf can also make your plainer, more casual looks feel more sophisticated and ready for work, too.

It can feel difficult to strike the balance between feeling stylish and professional and feeling overdressed when you work in a dressed down office, but these ideas may help you find your ideal work style!

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