Some workers can forego following the latest fashion trends in the workplace due to uniform requirements or active work environments. Examples include health-care workers donning their scrubs or construction workers sticking to their durable denim.
Workers in client-facing or professional-services roles are expected to dress for success. Chances are, workers who stand out to you as being fashion horses work in advertising, marketing, digital media and similar creative fields; looking the part of a successful and cutting-edge individual is nearly as important as the skills and smarts.
So how can individuals easily make their wardrobe last all year instead of one or two seasons?
Simon Kneen, head of design and creative director at Banana Republic, shares his tips on how workers can keep their wardrobe transitional for multiple seasons, for professional and personal wear and for those who may have a long commute to the workplace.
Season to season
“As the weather shifts from cool to warm and back again, sweaters are a staple,” Kneen says. For men, sweaters can be thrown over a button-up shirt and dressed up with a blazer of complimentary color. Opting for more basic colors and solids can provide you with a versatile look that can be worn less auspiciously than other seasonal-specific or trendy colors.
For women, it’s easy to dress up casual sweaters as well. “This season’s sweater caplets and ponchos are truly versatile and look especially chic when belted over a dress or pants and a button down,” Kneen suggests. “Add boots or booties to completely winterize the look.”
A great pair of winter boots is also a must. Don’t risk your dress shoes in the sleet and slush of winter, and invest in a solid pair of boots that will last you for at least a few years.
Business professional to casual
Accessories are key to transitioning from business professional to casual for both men and women. Men can spruce up a button-up shirt with any number of ties, allowing for more accent and color to make an outfit pop. A blazer can also be a transitional piece that works both at work and at dinner with friends or colleagues.
For men who are suited up during the day, losing the tie and changing into dark, slim-fitted denim can take the professional look and make it contemporary casual for the evening. Kneen also recommends that men utilize more color in items like a scarf or sock to get out of the basic polo and khaki rut.
Kneen adds that for women, accessories can be stored in the desk at work and can easily transform a look from day to night. “Every woman should own one versatile sheath that can be dressed for day with flats, a belted cardigan and tote or dressed up for dinner with jewels, heels and a clutch,” he adds.
Commuting and travel packing
Some workers have a longer commute, which can wreak havoc on trying to figure out how to dress for the office with a grueling hot summer or blizzard to contend with outside. In July, you don’t want to get to work covered in sweat, or in January, you’d hate to have your dress covered in muddy snow. For me personally, I pack my work clothes and change at the office. This also takes the pressure off of having to get home in case I have plans after work, since I already have an outfit with me.
“Purchase items that look great with flats for your commute, but also work with heels for the office. For example, a simple pair of well-cut, cropped trousers can be versatile with a number of footwear, from street-chic to cosmopolitan,” Kneen says.
For any worker, it’s important to keep things simple when it comes to finding items that last beyond seasonal trends or the hours of 9 to 5. Clean cuts, muted colors and value purchases can keep your look current for any purpose. Just remember to add seasonal hints of color to really stand out and show your co-workers, clients and your boss that you can pull it all together.