It’s almost 2018, and yet somehow women still face daily challenges in the workplace related to their gender. Unsurprisingly, one of the most significant obstacles has little to do with the job itself, but rather how she chooses to dress. Toeing the fine line between dressing according to code while maintaining her own sense of style is something many women struggle to achieve. But even if you work in a corporate office with a strict dress code, you can still incorporate your sense of style if you know where to put the right touches.
Perhaps one of the most challenging settings for expressing personal style as a woman is in the corporate office. When you are swimming in a sea of black pencil skirts and pantsuits, it can be hard to set yourself apart from the crowd. One way you can express your love of fashion, while also adhering to the dress code, is to invest in a few pairs of comfortable statement pumps. If you can afford a designer, do it. Haute couture designers put their unique stamp on each piece of footwear they design. Their signature looks include vibrant-coloured soles, horsebit hardware, and other standout details. Designer footwear accentuates both your professional image and helps you feel like yourself at the office.
Bow tops are another fashion-forward style of top that work in most corporate settings. A silk button-down blouse with a large bow tie at the neck can nestle in under a suit jacket beautifully, and this look is feminine, professional, and approachable when meeting clients.
You have a little more leeway in expressing your unique individual sense of style in a business-casual work environment. With a less strict dress code to adhere to, you can incorporate more patterns, silhouettes, and colours that express your tastes in a professional manner. Cardigans worn over silk shells or button-down shirts are always appropriate for a business-casual environment when paired with a pencil skirt and flats.
A simple sheath dress with a statement necklace and pumps also looks refined and elegant in this environment. Tailored trousers and a blazer can be paired with Chelsea boots and a patterned top or cashmere scarf for an unexpected style combination. A flared floral skirt paired with a solid-coloured shell and flats is both feminine and modest in a business-casual environment.
In The Classroom
Many female teachers find themselves struggling to command respect from fellow staff, and especially the parents of their students. Unfortunately, what you wear as a teacher can have as much impact on your career and classroom management as your behavioural strategies and lesson plans. When you work in the public eye like this, you tend to be judged more harshly than is the case with other career fields. Having a fashion-forward sense of style in a classroom setting is traditionally frowned upon. Whether you are on the ground with grade-school children or teach in a high school setting, you need to take extra precautions to ensure your clothing is durable, opaque, and offers plenty of coverage without looking sloppy.
Khaki pants with ballet flats and a sweater with a crew neckline is an ideal outfit choice for the classroom. Avoid wearing clothing that could unintentionally cause an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. Some schools let their teachers wear jeans and casual tops. If your school offers a less-rigid dress code, you should still pair jeans with loafers or flats and a professional-looking top or cashmere sweater.
You do not have to sacrifice fashion for functionality while at work. While some environments adhere to a more strict dress code, you can always find unique ways to express your personal style.