Whether your job requires a uniform, has a dress code, or pretty much doesn’t care what you wear, it can be hard to maintain your sense of fashion at work.
What’s even more difficult is being stylish while maintaining comfort. The good news is that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Here are our top tips for dressing for success at work without sacrificing comfort.
Read more after the jump:
Pick the Right Shoes
Shoes are an essential part of any work outfit. They can make a statement and, perhaps more importantly, determine how comfortable you are throughout the day.
If you work in an office job, you might have to opt for a fancier pair. Sleek flats or loafers should do the trick in most cases.
We recommend saving the heels for special occasions. This will prevent you from having to suffer through a day of sore, cramped feet. When you do go with heels, optimize comfort and try going for a shorter heel or one with platforms.
If you work at a job where you stand all day, get a pair that will offer support. Online, you will find review websites such as Footwear 4 Workers, which do most of your research for you. This particular website specializes in reviewing working people footwear. And let’s face it… nobody needs good shoes more than a working person. As a working person, your emphasis should be on finding a pair that provides good cushioning and traction.
The good thing about shoes for standing workers is that there are many fashionable options. Simple sneakers go with just about any outfit. They are stylish while saying that you prioritize your comfort and aren’t afraid of being a little casual.
Take Advantage of Casual Fridays
One of the best things about today’s professional world? The increasingly lax dress code. This gives you the freedom to express yourself as you might outside the office.
The biggest chance for workers to change up their style is on Casual Fridays. It’s the day of the week many look forward to and for good reason.
On your Casual Friday, don’t be afraid to take advantage of it even if some of your peers choose not to participate. Once you have an idea of your company’s expectations, run with it! Sport your most comfortable, stylish pair of jeans with a fun t-shirt. Or, wear a fancier, more daring outfit that might not be right for Monday-Thursday.
Pair a Casual Top with a Formal Bottom (or vice versa)
If you hate the feeling of tight, thin, or scratchy blouses, choose a more casual top like a t-shirt or appropriate tank top. To balance out the casual ambience of a t-shirt, pair it with a formal bottom, like a pencil skirt or pair of black dress pants.
If you can’t stand the idea of wearing a formal bottom piece, wear jeans or a flowy skirt. When you wear a casual bottom like this, pair it with a more sophisticated top.
Pairing a casual top with a formal bottom (or vice versa) is a great way to find a meeting point between fashion and comfort for your workplace attire.
Find a Cardigan That You Love
No matter your workplace’s dress code, you will most likely be able to wear a cardigan. This cardigan can offer a layer of protection from a chilly office. Plus, by having one go-to cardigan, you can pair it with your livelier outfits.
Choose a neutral color for your cardigan like black, gray, cream, white, or brown. This way, you don’t have to worry about coordinating your cardigan with the rest of your outfit. You’ll become known for your signature apparel piece, and you’ll feel comfortable throughout the day.
Dress for the Weather
Even with your statement cardigan, you may need to adjust your layers when appropriate. Depending on your area, the current season, and the average temperature of your office, you will need to consider the thickness and layering of your clothing.
If you’re in an office where the air conditioning is always on full blast, be sure to layer up, so you can focus on your work.
If you’re constantly stepping outside for coffee runs or other errands in the middle of summer, wear breathable and flowy clothing. Choose your clothing materials carefully. According to REI, Merino wool is breathable and doesn’t retain order. A V-neck made with this material will look good and keep you from overheating.
Opt for Long Skirts
Some people might view long skirts as too modest or old-fashioned. However, they can be very chic, playful, and flirty.
Plus, they’ll grant you a much wider range of motion. Short skirts can make everyday activities like sitting and crouching a bit of a pain. With a long skirt, you can get through the workday with confidence.
You can be stylish at work while being the most comfortable one in the office. Implement these tips, and everyone will be wondering how you can have the best of both worlds!
Images by Łukasz Bartyzel for Design SCENE