Written By: Tumi Halo
All images curated by Tumi Halo
Building a wardrobe fit for the corporate world is no easy feat! I’ve been trying to build a working wardrobe for the past couple of years – but trust me, this wardrobe has been demolished, renovated and is perpetually being re-evaluated. Personally, I believe that style is personal and should continually evolve as you mature (no-one wants to be told that they’re getting old, no matter how young you may be!).
When one is building a working wardrobe, it is important to establish a few pointers:
- What industry do you work in?
- What is the culture / vibe in your corporation?
- Are you client facing?
- And most importantly, what is your body type?
Nowadays, anyone can look fabulous – petite, plus size, you name it – it’s all about how you carry yourself. Your aura and confidence are what is key and what truly leaves that everlasting impression amongst your colleagues…but we will touch on this another time.
Before you get excited and commence the shopping process, assess the clothes that you currently possess and ask yourself whether you would take someone seriously if you saw them dressed in your very clothes? If your answer is no, please donate them to charity and let’s get the MasterCard/Visa ready…
Building a work wardrobe is certainly not an overnight process and of course requires a great degree of budgeting. However, with the right clothing, you are guaranteed to have a long-lasting wardrobe containing timeless pieces that needn’t be replaced too often, and most importantly, you will most likely perform better in your career .
Below is my list of items that are essential in your wardrobe:
1. Tailored clothing. If you buy something and it’s not a perfect fit, then it’s best to have it altered to fit you perfectly by a tailor. Owning your look is imperative and can be greatly attributed to well-fitted clothing.
3. Black and navy blue pants are timeless. To step it up a notch for Mondays and important meetings, a matching blazer will do.
4. Ladies, a black dress is an investment. And no, I’m not referring to a LBD. A knee-length black dress goes perfectly with a pair of coloured heels and blazer, or simple black pumps and pearls.
5. Black pumps and tan/nude pumps work beautifully for all seasons and with virtually any outfit!
6. Print items make exquisite work wear for later in the week. If you’re brave and wish to wear a print item, ensure that you don’t mix prints at the office, unless you work in an artistic or creative environment.
7. Ladies, I love pencil skirts but I’ve got a soft spot for A-line skirts as they work for all figures and give your figure definition, particularly when worn with heels. Of course, the pencil skirt never loses its lustre and appeal!
8. A dark denim / chinos for casual Fridays (if applicable).
9. Accessories to personalize your wardrobe – be it a scarf, neck piece, earrings, or signature handbag.
10. Lastly, never underestimate the importance of clean hair, nails and clean skin. If the word ‘budget’ doesn’t exist in your world, a signature fragrance always catches most people’s attention. After all, the whole point is to be seen – and smelt in this case!
A strategy that I use is to mentally separate my work wear from my casual wear. That way, I know not to create any confusion regarding what I deem office appropriate. When building your wardrobe don’t focus on designer brands / boutique clothing but rather the quality of the garments. You don’t have to go broke in order to look stunning. Remember we live in the digital age, and you may always simply search ways to revive or enhance certain clothing items that have been in your closet for years. I also find my work wear inspiration from Pinterest (simply search “corporate fashion” in your Pinterest search bar) and a few style icons even though I know very well that I can’t rock up at the office looking like Carrie Bradshaw – but Olivia Pope is a good start! Use tools such as the internet and apps such as Pinterest as your starting point for planning your wardrobe around your career, and subsequently look out for specials and sales around sale seasons such as January, May and November when undertaking the task of purchasing your desired items.
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