NINE TO FIVE - 26 ITEMS INTO 80 OUTFITS
When I was in high school, I went to an all girls school and was forced to adhere to a strict dress code of cream stockings (so impractical), plaid knee length kilt, white pleated shirt and navy blazer. Oh and to top it off a very unflattering bowler style hat, which was compulsory to wear when not on the school grounds. Lovely yes, to see all the girls tottering about in this uniform, but each day I begrudgingly wore it counting down to when I could be free from uniformity.
So although I hated wearing a uniform or essentially a suit to school, I always looked up to stylish corporate women and aspired to be a 'working girl' one day. I measured wearing a suit with being grown up, successful and powerful! However working in the fashion industry meant suiting up was unfashionable but experimenting with clothes was what you did to stand out. Fast forward to now, and I find myself embracing the corporate style not only as 'fashion', but due to my work I am spending more time in corporate environments with clients - and wearing ripped jeans doesn't fly. To be honest, being surrounded by this new type of power dressing meant I really needed to step it up to be taken seriously. I couldn't be a 'fashion girl' in a corporate world, as I just felt silly - not to mention I really stood out! I needed to fast track my style to suit my new environment and had to teach myself the tricks, while still having elements of 'Tash' in my daily looks. And there is something to be said about ‘dressing the part’ as it has given me much more confidence, inspired by my ‘Donna crush’ (this is a reference to the badass character Donna Paulsen in the TV show Suits who really knows how to rock a suit).
This problem I am hearing from many of my clients also. Either new mothers going back to work, women changing roles or being promoted and even as the fashion changes, there is much confusion around what a corporate wardrobe looks like. A lot of women know how to dress causally but no clue how to dress up for work. Or even corporate women who are tired of their 'uniform' and want to add some of their style into their day to day looks.....mainly for their sanity! And as work place uniforms change depending on the dress code, it can be really difficult to know what is appropriate for different industries and office cultures.
Fortunately the power suit is back in fashion! And although this look is most commonly associated with the 1980s, a decade marked by an economic boom when women started to command more power in the workplace, the power suit has returned as a way to underscore women’s empowerment. It’s also indicative of a shift away from frivolous spending on fast fashion and over-in-a-moment trends, as the power suit is considered an investment piece, not a throwaway item.
We all are familiar with the stress associated with dressing for the office in the morning. Which is why the concept of a “work uniform” – wearing a variation of the same outfit every single day has become so popular. I have built a blueprint for what I like to call 'corporate my way'. To break it down it’s just embracing the uniform elements of work wear while still having some fashion and personality thrown in.
It is about CORE items that are the basis of your outfits.
Buying SEPARATES that can be interchangeable, and allow for more outfit options.
You need to INVEST in your work wear, based on how often you wear each item, perception about quality of clothing vs work success, and as less is more - the right items are important.
With this formula, you can create over 80 different outfits!!
5 jackets + 2 shirts + 3 dresses + 3 pairs of pants + 4 skirts + 3 basic tops + 5 pairs of shoes + 1 pair of jeans = 26 items (you also can reduce this list to 15 items by taking out some of the fashion elements).
JACKETS - 1. Basic black blazer / 2. Basic blazer with twist (gold button, pinstripe, longer length etc) / 3. Fashion blazer / 4. Trench / 5. Fashion blazer
SHIRTS - 1. White shirt / 2. Blue shirt (could be striped also)
DRESSES - 1. Basic black dress / 2. Fashion dress (colour) / 3. Fashion dress (print or stripe) - (think wearability and prints that aren't noticeable when worn often)
PANTS - 1. Matching black suit pant / 2. Fashion pant / 3. Fashion pant
SKIRTS - 1. Classic black skirt / 2. Black fashion skirt / 3. Print skirt (spot, stripe, floral) / 4. Fashion skirt (colour) - (try to think about comfort and not always go for tight fitting skirts)
BASICS - 1. White tee / 2. Black tee / 3. Cami
SHOES - 1. Black pump / 2. Black ballet / 3. Sneaker / 4. Fashion heel / 5. Loafer (it's important to have flat options as well as heels)
DENIM - 1. Classic wash jean
** This list is not including handbags - READ my article on The Handbag Commodity HERE
Don't forget to make a comment below....I love reading your thoughts.
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If you follow my formula you will have over 80 different outfits options!
here IS some inspiration about how to 'style' CORPORATE classics with fashion ITEMS to get
the most out of your WARDROBE FORMULA.
1. THE CLASSICS
Black and white is always a go to for me, and the foundation of dressing.
Classic and sophistication speaks loudly, especially if you wear the right elements.