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Vogue & Style

The Office WARDROBE UPGRADE

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– Ever wondered how you can upgrade your fashion style and wish to add more flair and color to your everyday work style? Here is the good news! Your work wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring.

The daily struggle of getting dressed for work is real. Often, you find yourself staring into your closet at 6 a.m., waiting for an amazing piece to magically appear. When that doesn’t happen (which it never does), you reach for yet another boring button-up and the same pair of slacks you’ve already worn in the week.

Trust me, I’ve been there too. But there comes a time when your office wardrobe needs to be overhauled to give you a new sense of belonging. Here are some few tips on how to upgrade your office wardrobe.

Focus On Fit

The golden rule, in every tailored sense of style, is purchase clothing that fits you properly. Nothing destroys an outfit – whatever the dress code and no matter how expensive the clothes are – like an ill-fitting jacket, shirt or trouser, dress, skirt or blouse.

Some people tend to wear clothes too large, which looks baggy, while others insist on ‘skinny’ fits, which are too tight on their bodies.

The first secret to looking smart is sizing correctly. Therefore, we need to know our correct size and figure to aid us in purchasing the right apparel.

Build With Basics

Once you’ve nailed the fit, you can start building up your wardrobe. Begin with pieces that are easy to mix and match, so you can get the biggest bang for your buck, interchanging jackets with pants and shirts with ties for a different look each day.

After you’ve built a solid closet full of staples, you can start getting more creative with texture, color and pattern.

The Business Essentials

If you build your selection of essentials carefully, you’ll be able to achieve maximum levels of versatility with minimum levels of effort (which is crucial in the mornings when you haven’t even had your coffee yet).

Keep It Simple

Every office wardrobe must be kept simple with a solid white shirt and a neutral black, charcoal, or navy suit. No matter your suit or blazer color, a white shirt and one of these tie colors: a neutral black, charcoal, or navy as well will work every time.

Keeping it simple makes the wardrobe friendlier to visit in the morning and takes off every confusion of ‘what to wear’ on a particular day to the office.

In upgrading your office wardrobe, be mindful to get the more simple things that makes the best of you.

Types of Suit to have in the wardrobe

Kicking things off with fit, the jacket should sit square and snug on the shoulders (no peaking) and be cut slim through the sides and finish just below your butt.

Sleeves finish a few centimeters above the thumb join to the shirt cuff can be seen, just. See a tailor to sort all this out for you. Covering winter, summer and every temperature in between, there are three jackets one should consider. The first is a classic navy blazer, in a single breast design with peak or notch lapels.

In light wool, navy is less stuffy than black and is dark enough to flatter your physique, instantly smartening up any look. For cooler mornings, get a grey tweed blazer in grey.

It’s ideal from injecting texture (menswear’s answer to adding interest to a block color with a gaudy print), and will work well with other feel-good fabrics in your outfit such as silk knit tie and a chambray shirt.

There is never a bad time to wear a black suit. Even when we hit our two weeks of heatwave weather per year, you’ll still look amazing even if it does get hot under the collar. However, it can be easy to ruin all of those good intentions for a classy look with some ill-advised combinations.

It can be the problem with choice sometimes. Too much of it often leads to us making a poor decision than when just faced with a couple of variables. Unless you’re rocking suits every day (and if you are, ensure you have a good selection on rotation) then it is likely you’ll only don a suit for those special occasions.

If it only arises every once in a while, that’s even more reason to nail it. Dark suits are typically used for more formal affairs, including interviews, business meetings and unfortunately sombre events such as funerals.

If you aren’t a fan of navy blue, or you’re after another string to the sartorial bow, look no further.

Shirts

Ill-fitting shirts are common because we aren’t all models, and in proportion from neck to waist.

Again, get the fit right in the shoulders first, then, move across: the space between the collar and the neck should fit two fingers comfortably, and the shirt cuff should meet at the thumb join.

If your shoulders are broad, look for a slim-fit design or consider getting darts; two simple straight seams put in the back of the shirt to cinch in the billowy fabric. This guide to dress shirt weaves will help you decide what cloth is best for your climate and dress code.

In general, Oxford shirts are the tried and tested button-down, and come in many of colors, patterns. Solids are obviously the easiest to match, so focus at first on standards like white, light blue and pale pink, move into brighter colors and patterns such stripes, checks or gingham versions.

Always keep in mind that you should be more business than casual, so only wear a shirt if the collar can stand up without a tie.

Trousers

Due to a decrease in suit jackets in the office in recent years especially on Fridays, trousers are more important than ever. So, start investing now.

Chinos – in a mid-weight cotton – are your go-to choice for semiformal work wear for Fridays. Stick with classic colors – navy and camel – and opt for a fit that’s slim but not skinny.

Trouser separates, again in a multipurpose color, are the next step up, venturing into grey or beige. Menswear’s current obsession with cropped trousers should really be minimized (invest in one or two max).

If you’re after timeless, stick to regular length as trends come and go. Finally, jeans are appropriate – some workplace call for them. Go for something more on the formal end of the denim spectrum: mid-to-dark wash and absolutely no rips or heavy fading. Office jeans should also be slim, never skinny.

No shorts accepted please.

Shoes

The dress shoe classics are safest when it comes to your footwear. Loafers, Oxfords, Derbies, brogues and monk straps will all look dapper at the office.

And, will complement each piece mentioned above, basing your look as all is brought together. Casual Fridays may allow for a minimal, clean cut sneaker to be worn to work, but again, as with the jean-rule, check with your boss first.

For quality, leather is always better, stick to black, brown, oxblood and tan when choosing a color. In summer, experiment with color and even suede.

Final Word, Accessorize! Taking these essential office items, play around with color and print combinations and add in or take out traditional suit appendages for a relaxed look, that’s supercharged.

When it comes to accessories, we say less is more. Add a leather folio to your wristwatch, and do away with the tie, if you want to do a ‘business casual’. By knowing the rules, you can now bend them a little, and not look like a fool.

That’s how the Italians do it. Sprezzatura! Accessories have been piled into one category, as they are no-brainers (and don’t warrant their own dot point) really. Ties and pocket squares should be cotton or silk (the former knitted if you like) and never gaudy.

The belt – always leather with a metal buckle, and match it to the metal of your ring and watch, or tie clip and lapel pin. Quality cotton socks and underwear, in pure cotton, are sans question.

 

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Vogue & Style

The Ultimate First Impression

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…Confident, Audacious and Stylish

Several invitations are shared all year round for people to attend summits, conferences, workshop and the likes. These events offer networking opportunities for attendees to establish connections and create impressions with other professionals in their field and beyond.

Lots of people look out for various things when they meet someone for the first time, but what leaves a lastly impression on anyone is how well dressed the other person was. Because like it or not, your entire outlook speaks a lot about you on the first meet. Hence the need for you to look appropriately dressed while having some style and sharpness to it. It is very important!

People have had experiences where they were not really regarded just because of the way they looked whiles others who dressed elegantly had luminary treatment. It’s all in the branding people; dress the way you want to be addressed.

Why Attire Matters at Business Conferences

The hard truth about these events is that, because there are so many people to talk to at a time and so many “big names” to meet, people pass judgement on your appearances very hastily. This may not seem fair but it’s the hard truth, the way you are dressed may give you that unique opportunity to leave a good first impressions and have a good networking session.

Looking good also makes you seem like a very valuable contact and will give you an urge over someone who didn’t bother to look the part.

Whether you are dressing as a participant to a business conference, or the presenter/speaker, a very careful consideration has to be given to your dressing to make you stand out and achieve your goals for the conference.

What to consider

First thing to consider is to enquire if there is a dress code for the business conference, this will definitely be your guide to pick your attire.

Sometimes no dress code is mentioned so you have to pick out your attire based on your experience or someone else’s. Most business conferences have seen attendees dressed in business casuals, but it depends.

It is also wise to consider the venue of the conference and the various corporate institutions that may be in attendance.

Ways to Dress for a Professional Business Conference

As an attendee or as a presenter, there is something for you. To fully prepare yourself for a conference, must haves like; dress trousers, skirt, dress, button-down shirt, blouse, suit jacket, belt, leather shoes, socks, pantyhose, necktie and simple accessories should be ready to pack.

If the conference is a bit business casual you may want to add khaki trousers, dark-wash denim jeans, sweater, polo shirt, blazer or sports jacket.

Attendee Attire

  • Suits or Blazers: Having a form of structured jacket is a good idea to have on you whether you wearing it or just neatly holding it. Men especially should have this.
  • Trousers: Black, grey, navy blue, and brown trousers are the standard colours of choice. You may want to consider khaki trousers as well but must be pressed and wrinkle-free.

Women may choose to wear slacks, khakis, or try out a knee-length pencil skirt. Dark colours, like black or dark brown, are the most traditional and best received.

  • Tops: Wear a button-down collared shirt or polo shirt. Light and dark colours are both acceptable, but avoid anything bold or flashy.

Women may consider a knit blouse, silk blouse, or close-weave sweater. Choose a top that flatters your figure without being skin tight or low enough in the front to be revealing. A solid colour works best for casual fabrics, but a print in a rich hue can look appropriate on nicer fabrics like silk.

  • Ties: Decide whether or not you want to wear a tie. Ties make you look more professional, and you may want to wear one if you intend to mingle and establish contacts for the future. If leaning toward a business casual style, however, ties are not necessary.
  • Shoes: Wear black or brown leather shoes. Men can opt for a lace-up style or a more casual loafer, but either way, your shoes must be polished and in good condition.

Women should wear flats or a low heel (no high heels). Closed-toe pumps or flats, are preferable. Black and brown leather are ideal.

  • Socks: Match your socks to your trousers. This applies to both men and women. Black socks are the most common and most versatile colour, but you should try to match the colour of your socks to the colour of your shoes or trousers in order to blend the two together. Avoid white or coloured socks that might stand out.
  • Skirts/Dresses: Check the fabric to see if it is clinging to you. If so, wear a slip underneath.
  • Accessories: Minimize your accessories. Avoid non-traditional jewellery, like lip piercings, and only wear subtle pieces that do not look flashy.

Dress up for dinner. The required dress code for meal functions can vary. Luncheons may only require business casual dress, but most evening receptions require you to dress up. Women should opt for conservative cocktail dresses and men should go with a suit and tie.

Presentation Attire

  • Shirts and Jackets: Wear a collared, button-down shirt. Basic colours like white or light pastels work best, but bright colours and patterns should be avoided. Remember to throw on a wool suit jacket. Choose a single-breasted style in a dark colour like black, navy, grey, or brown. The jacket should be tailor-fit for both men and women.
  • Trousers: Match your trousers to your jacket. Garments that come as part of a two-piece suit are best, but if you buy your slacks separately, you should match the colour to the colour of your jacket.

For women consider a knee-length skirt. Both trousers and skirts are appropriate business attire for women. Select a pencil skirt that matches the colour your suit jacket, preferably black, navy, grey, or brown.

  • Shoes: Wear polished leather shoes. Men should consider formal lace-up styles, like Oxfords, in black or dark brown.

Women can wear low heels, but avoid high heels or strappy styles that look more sexy than professional. Black and dark brown shoes are the most appropriate and least distracting.

  • Socks: Stick with socks that coordinate with the colour of you suit. This applies mostly to men. Black socks are the most common since they create a smooth transition between dark slacks and dark shoes.

Ladies slip on nylon pantyhose. Hosiery is necessary for skirts and recommended for trousers, as well.

  • Ties: Choose a conservative tie, if you are a man. Select a tie made of high-quality fabric, like silk, and a subdued colour or pattern. Avoid bold patterns and character prints.
  • Belts: Match your belt to you suit and shoes. The colour of your belt should fit in with the colour scheme the rest of your outfit follows.
  • Accessories: Always keep your accessories to a minimum. This applies to both men and women. Watches and other jewellery should be low-key. Avoid any non-traditional jewellery, like eyebrow piercings or nose piercings.

Ultimately, what you wear matters. So choose what best depicts your personality but before anything else, know where you are going, the kind of people attending and that will give you an idea of what you should wear, whether business professional, business casual, or a presenters attire.

Even though you may be overwhelmed at the amazing benefits you will enjoy at the conference, take another second to think about the most important thing; YOUR STYLE OF DRESSING. In reiteration, whether you believe it or not, your style of dressing to a business conference is key and must be totally considered and thoroughly planned.

Indeed appearance matters a lot! Dressing well shows you respect yourself; that you are confident and can be trusted. Also note that one’s success begins the moment someone looks at them and their appearance.

Don’t forget, along with your amazing attire, your personal hygiene is also important. Make sure you don’t have any bad odours, your fingernails are neat, and a nice haircut/hairdo etc. and you are good to go.

Be Confident, Audacious, and Stylish! Connect with everyone, make that lasting impression!

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