What is Suitable Work Wear?

By on August 1, 2011

By Becky Redpath –

I attended a business event last week where someone asked what suitable work wear was. The lady, who raised the query, ran her own accountancy business, and her style favoured casual boots, leggings and tunic dresses rather than the traditional suit and heels. However I started thinking about the whole question of what is considered appropriate clothing for work.

Twenty -five years ago business people would have always worn suits, but today with “dress down” days in offices becoming commonplace, and dress codes generally being much more relaxed it can be difficult to know what to wear.

I believe it comes down to a question of credibility. Whatever we do, whether it’s plumbing or accountancy, we want our clients to trust us and feel confident in our professional abilities. Whether we like it or not people form opinions of us within seconds of meeting, often before we have even opened our mouths, so the impression we initially make matters.

woman in professional looking outfitI originally trained as a nurse at University College Hospital, London. In the early eighties the uniform was a very traditional blue and white striped dress, a starched hat and apron, with black shoes, tights and a red cape. Impractical – yes, the laundry bills alone must have been exorbitant, but the patients, particularly the elderly, loved them. Being able to spot the sister in charge from the end of the ward, or knowing they were asking a nurse for a bedpan, rather than a hospital porter, lessened anxiety at a very stressful time. If what you wear induces feelings of confidence in your clients, then surely that has to be a good thing.

Taking pride in how you present yourself implies a desire to carry that fastidiousness through to your work. In an increasingly competitive world it would be a pity to lose out on a job to someone else, simply because you had not complied with your clients expectations. We all carry stereotypical images in our heads of how trades and professions are represented, and while I am completely in favour of people having their own style and wearing what they feel comfortable in, if your individual style takes you too far from how your profession is perceived ,then you might risk losing credibility.

Let’s face it, if a personal trainer turned up wearing a Chanel suit and heels you’d think twice about her commitment in getting you into shape!

If you would like some advice on putting together a stylish and practical capsule wardrobe for your profession contact Becky Redpath on the email form on the website: http://www.lookgreatfeelfabulous.com/.

About Becky Redpath

If you would like some advice on putting together a stylish and practical capsule wardrobe for your profession contact Becky Redpath on the email form on the website: http://www.lookgreatfeelfabulous.com/.

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What is Suitable Work Wear?