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Corporate Working Style Directory

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The approaching of the weekdays in the corporate life come with its own headache of knowing what to wear, when to wear and how to wear what in the course of the five working days. Putting your best look forward often comes down to a clean, crisp look from head to toe.

The old concept of corporate dressing has transformed in the 21st century and as such a professional dress code is cultured for motivation and inspiration amongst the professionals.

he pressure to look good, as well as a chance to make a first impression in the office matters more in the corporate life in these recent times as style keeps changing.

The total impression that you make on your colleagues and bosses has implications for how you are viewed in your workplace. How you dress is such a simple aspect of your self-presentation to modify that career success and advancement should be more important than your need to express your individual, quirky personality at work.

Corporate style is important because it sends messages about you— fairly or unfairly— to customers, clients, bosses, company executives, and co-workers. People surely judge you by your appearance.

Corporate dressing for men

To prepare your wardrobe adequately for the coming working days, corporate executives (men) are expected to plan their wardrobes to suit the various activities and engagements scheduled for the week.

  • Shirt and Tie Combination

In the world of corporate dressing for men, the trend of matching shirts and trousers has come to an end. With keeping in mind the above concern, if you wear a bold contrasting tie, then it will deliver a solid statement about your corporate outfit. Believe it or not!!

This combo of shirt along with a bold and eye catchy tie will become a focus point of your professional dress up. Moreover, everyone in your professional presence will appraise your signature style.

However, for a sophisticated Men’s business fashion, your corporate wardrobe should have different pattern ties along with the solid colors. This way, if you wish to opt for any light shade shirt, then you could sensibly go for a bright pink tie for a flawless corporate guy.

If you do not like pink, then you have various other light shade ranges open for your formal wear fashion.

  • Jackets and Shirt Combination

Now here comes the real choosy combination in regards to corporate dressing for men. In this combo, there is a lot of space available for men’s fashion experiments.

Jackets could be of any color and pattern with shades even. It will go fluently with most of the shirt patterns like funky shirts, floral or check shirts, polka dots, & strips pattern shirts too.

In contrast to the above business attire, let’s take an example of a polka dot shirt and a white color pant, which goes in perfect combination with a black jacket.

If you have chosen the light color for shirt, then match it up with a dark jacket for sure.

Guys! ‘Primary color of cloth’ is the key aspect of combination of shirt and jacket. This idea of men’s fashion really works well in the corporate. So keep in mind about the same.

Corporate dressing for women

Women should be careful about the fit of their dresses. It is not necessary that a dress which looks good on your colleague will also look good on you. Dress according to your physique, body size, body type, weight, complexion and so on.

A dress needs to fit you well. Avoid wearing something which is too tight or too loose. Wearing clothes that fit you well makes you feel confident at the workplace. Do not wear body hugging clothes to work.

It is always wise to dress according to your office culture. Business suits look best in colours like Blue, Black or Charcoal grey.

Business suits constitute a crisp shirt teamed with a matching trouser or skirt. Shirt should be preferably in light shade and properly tucked into the trouser.

Skirts should touch the knee or below. Be very careful about the overall fit of the trouser. Baggy trousers will make you look lazy and sloppy.

Avoid wearing loud colours to work. Colours such as hot pinks, reds, deep purples look odd at the workplace. They are meant to be worn at parties and get-togethers with friends. Animal prints and jazzy designs are not meant for offices.

See through dresses, spaghetti tops, minis, blouses with a deep neckline are a strict no no at the workplace. Such dresses attract people for all the wrong reasons. Remember office is not a place where you can wear your sneakers, jeans, hats, shorts and so on.

Female executives should avoid wearing heavy jewellery to work. Stud earrings look simple yet elegant on female professionals. Do not wear chunky necklaces, large earrings and stacks of bangles at workplace.

Flaunting your gold jewellery at office is foolish. Do not wear ring on every finger. Avoid wearing multiple bracelets. An elegant and simple watch looks best on professionals.

Do not wear loud make up to work. A nude look works best in offices. Don’t overdo your make up. Instead of a bright lipstick, a lip-gloss looks better and you can even reapply the same whenever needed.

Minimal make up can not only make you look good but also extremely professional. Never apply layers of foundation on your face. Avoid cakey make up at workplace!

It is important to smell good at the workplace. Keep a mild perfume handy.

Your handbag must go with your outfit and complement your overall look.

Make sure your hands are clean and nails properly trimmed and manicured. Avoid applying bright and gaudy nail paints.

Body piercings (eyebrow piercings or lip piercings) and tattoos of any kind should be strictly avoided in organizations. Do not wear more than one earring at the workplace.

Hair should be neatly combed and properly tied. Messy hair is not at all acceptable at workplaces. Do not adopt weird hairstyles at work.

Wear flats or platform heels to work. Your heels should not be more than 2 inches.

By following these guidelines, you can look professional in your selected corporate outfit in your workplace. Just understand the standard that is expected, dress according to these guidelines, and assemble a wardrobe that is attractive and comfortable for the working days.

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Vogue & Style

The rising trend of African wear in the corporate office

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African wear is gradually gaining roots in the corporate offices since the introduction of the National Friday wear program in Ghana. Most companies prefer styling up in their customized African print while others wear general African prints styled to their design. The result of this culture has been the exponential increment of both small and large scale enterprises like boosting the sale of African prints on the market, fashion designers making money and increasing the production of such textiles; not forgetting the unique identity it gives to companies who have customized their African prints.

In spite of the fact that only a day of the week has been allocated for this purpose, the trend of African wear for corporate offices is rising. Some people opine that, African prints are very comfortable to be in and very easy to accessorize and as such, one can always improvise to fit business occasions like meetings, presentations, summits and other business purposes. How then should a corporate worker spruce up in an African print for corporate environment?

Choosing the right Fabric:

  • Texture: One needs to be mindful of the kind of fabric one chooses for the corporate environment. Choose one that sits well on the skin and does not cause any form of irritations to the skin. Avoid very heavy fabrics which do not allow circulation of air to and from the skin, thus producing a lot of heat and sweat. If one also decides to choose a lighter fabric, be sure it is properly lined. And watch out for threads hanging out from any part of your dress or shirt; so it doesn’t look funny walking around.
  • Colour: The temptation of picking something colourful is exceptionally high when one wants to look stylish. Avoid looking like a flower pot by shunning prints with so many colours and broad patterns. It becomes a distraction, especially when interacting with clients. For a suave look, just aim for something beautiful but not so bright. For businesses with customized prints for work, if one could not wear theirs, they should get something similar to what is acceptable so they do not look like a visitor at their workplaces.

Style:

  • Men: Men do not have much to do with African prints except of course their shirts for work. Unless one works with a fashion, a creative or a media company, one needs to kindly avoid using bright African prints for jacket or suit. Stick with the well-fitted short or long sleeve shirt. Shirts should be crease-free and worn with neatly ironed black, grey, navy blue, brown or a dark shade of the most dominating colour of the print trousers, with neatly polished black or brown leather shoes, or a more casual loafer and a pair of socks that blends with the trousers. In a dark coloured suit, an African print vest is simply stunning.
    • Women: The challenges that come with picking a style appropriate for work increases when it has to do with African prints. If one finally decides to wear a blouse, avoid styles that cut low exposing the cleavage. The style should not be ‘wild’ and by all means, make sure the undies are well covered. The blouse should have enough space so that it is not too tight or restricting. One needs to look smart and comfortable at work.

What to wear with an African Print?

Depending on the style of the blouse, the usual pencil skirts, trousers or even flare skirts may fit well or not. For a blouse with no exaggerated additions or for a small top, wear a flared skirt or a trouser that is not too skimpy or smallish. For a broad or big blouse, a pencil skirt or a fitting trouser is advisable. But of course, it is subject to one’s stature which varies with every lady.

If one decides to go with a straight dress, shun from bright or loud colours. The style should be simple but classy. Nothing too loose or tight, just well-fitted. There should be absolutely no form of excessive skin exposure either around the chest or the thigh. To allow free and easy movements, there should be an open beside or behind the dress just enough for movement and not as much to expose too much skin.

If one decides to use African prints for the skirt, the same rules apply. A flared skirt will best fit a small top, whereas a print pencil skirt goes with a broad or big top. Do not use African prints for trousers to work unless to a creative, a fashion or a media company.  Wear African print skirt with a simple blouse; not too bright! Preferably the dark shade of the colour with no or small patterns. A nice blazer will switch the look up to another level of class and elegance.

Accessories:

The way one accessorizes can make the look spot-on or clumsy. The latter is not advisable.

Bags: Either as a handbag for ladies or a laptop bag for both genders, a dull colour will best fit when looking colourful or bright, the same way a colourful bag will do the trick when one is in a dull outfit. It’s all about complementing the total look. In case one wants to wear an African print bag even though he/ she is dressed in an African print skirt or top, one must make sure it is the same fabric as the dress or something similar that blends in with the dress. Let’s reduce the wearing of African print straight dress and accessorizing with fully covered African print bags. A black bag or a bag with the darker shade of one’s favourite colour will work perfectly.

Shoes: For a corporate environment, it is not advisable for men to wear a shoe fully covered in an African print. This draws too much attention to one’s feet. A strip of African print on a black or dark brown leather shoe can do the magic. For ladies, either the shoe is fully covered in an African print from the same fabric one is wearing or the bag one is holding or stick with the black or dark brown low heels.

The neck or the area around the neck: Accessorizing the neck for both men and women either with a necklace, a tie or a scarf also comes with its own dos and don’ts. Using an African print around the neck means the brighter the necklace, tie or scarf, the darker and plain (or smaller patterns) the shirt or top but the darker the accessories the brighter the tops or shirt. Let’s not forget African print earrings to be worn should be small but nice.

When we descend on the body, accessorizing the chest area with either an African print brooch or a piece of African print in the breast pocket of our suit, should strictly be on a plain or a smaller patterned shirt or blouse.

Now to accessorize the hands with either African print wrist watch, beads, bracelets or cufflinks, the smaller the better. It shouldn’t be too bright unless of course, the dressing demands otherwise.

Men who would want to use African prints for belts, the less colourful it is, the better. One does not need to draw attention to one’s waist area at work.

Dressing in an African Print for a presentation:

Whenever there is a presentation at work, the presenter aims at gaining some form of attention and cooperation from those listening to the presentation. Captivating the attention and holding the interest of listeners are essential. This is why one cannot compete with his/ her dress for attention during a business presentation. One needs to come off as confident and knowing what he/ she is about, not the other way round. This is why brightly coloured, large patterned and detailed design fabrics should definitely be avoided.

Day, season and weather cannot be overlooked when choosing an appropriate African print fabric or style. The day should inform one on the kind of fabric to choose. In a rainy season, a heavy African print sewn as a long sleeve shirt or blouse is advisable because of the cold weather. So, obviously a summer season will demand the opposite; a light fabric (not transparent) sewn as a short sleeve top. And when the weather is just right, dress right!

Another fact is that all these tips are susceptible to the stature or shape of the individual. Since we cannot go into styling up for all the body types, let’s simply say if one’s upper body is bigger than the lower part, wear a small looking top on a flared skirt or loose trousers rather than a pencil skirt or a tight trouser. Which is to say that if one has a small upper body and a broad down or hip, a broad top on a pencil skirt or a tight trouser will flatter the figure perfectly. It is all about comfort and confidence when styling up to a corporate world. Simply have the image of the company you represent at the back of your mind and dress accordingly.

Men should perform their tonsorial duties as they always do and ladies’ makeup and hairstyles for work should not be affected by the presence of the African print. Go simple, beautiful and neat just as always.

One will notice that most of the tips centres on colour, style and texture of the African print; this is to say that once these elements are not in the right proportion, the look slips into a church look not a corporate look. Walk the fine line with class, confidence and the concept of thin slicing at the back of your mind!

This rising trend of African wear in the corporate offices has gone a long way towards making Ghanaians embrace and accept their culture by creating some sort of positive conformity where they feel left out if they don’t wear made in Ghana fabric on a Friday. The question now remains, should African prints be relegated to just Fridays or should be worn in any day of the week like it is done in Nigeria?

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