Look around you. Your work and living areas are a direct reflection of you. Your taste, style, personality are on show not just via your choice of clothing. If your workspace is cluttered and disorganised, people will often assume you are too. Work isn’t the place to exercise your fashion muscle or make a statement – at least not if you want to climb the corporate ladder & be taken seriously.
Take a look at the checklists below – one for your workspace the other for you. How many are you “guilty” of?
Office Image Breakers
If your office-space resembles either of these pictures, you’ve really got some work to do!
Check your desk for these items – and remove!
Dead pot plants Multiple artificial flowers
Amusing slogans and inappropriate posters
A very messy desk
Too many family/friends photos
Non-work related magazines
Plastic shopping bags
Gym shoes or clothes
Makeup and hair accessories
Desk blotters covered in scribble and doodles
Celebrity or funny posters
Toys – especially those stuck to computers
What About Your Personal Corporate Image?
Making the right clothing and accessory choices for work really does depend on a number of factors, but the key thing to remember is that you always show respect for your company’s dress code and office culture.
If, for example, you work in the heart of the CBD. Perhaps in a large law firm or specialist’s practice. Your choice of dress will of course be quite different to the more creative-licence you would have working in advertising or TV or fashion retail.
If your workstation (and you) are well presented, you give the impression that you’re highly organised and professional. If your desk is in disarray, and you look like you just rolled out of bed, you’re simply not doing yourself any favours or painting the right picture to your boss, colleagues or clients.
There are often subtleties that many fail to notice when making decisions as to whether something is considered appropriate or inappropriate. To get you started, here are some tips:
The following are NEVER appropriate (using the example of working in a very corporate environment as mentioned above):
- Super-short mini skirts/dresses
- Extra low (i.e. cleavage-revealing) necklines
- Sky-high pointy-toed stilettos (keep those for evening)
- Statement fashion shoes (major platforms, wild colours or prints, strappy heels, gladiators)
- Shorts (unless tailored, knee-length)
- Tank tops & camisoles (unless used for layering, to cover cleavage, or under jackets)
- Fishnet stockings
- Chandelier-style, dangly earrings
- Large, noisy jewellery (if we can hear you walking by, your accessories are too bold for the office)
- Fabrics that are too shiny, too sheer, too lacy, too sexy, too loud (steer away from animal prints and sequins too)
- Maxi dresses and long, floaty skirts
- Flat, strappy slip-ons (sandals)
- Jeans (unless specified in the dress code as being allowed on Casual Fridays. In which case, make sure the jeans are dressy i.e. denim is dark, no rips or wild manufactured washes or bling)
- Anything that you may consider suitable to wear out clubbing or partying is NOT appropriate for the office.
- Too much, heavy makeup. i.e. Heavy eyeliner and bold eyeshadows – Think Make-down for day, Make-Up by night.
- NO makeup whatsoever – this is very personal, but it’s advisable to at least wear some makeup (be it a splash of gloss and a dab of mascara) to make your face look “awake” and more polished for the office. Fluorescent lighting makes even the most beautiful woman look washed-out.
- Unkempt hair; wild colours and OTT styles