Workplace fashion is one of the most annoying (1st world) problems I’ve faced since I started my career. I’ve always felt pulled in every different direction.. You want to look glamourous, but professional. You want to be practical, but not outdated.
In an industry filled with hiking boots, orthotics, runners paired with mum jeans and really ugly, almost illegal polo shirts, I have clutched and held on to (as if my life depends on it) every ounce of fashion I can keep in my job.
In an average day, I could be meeting up to 20 clients where I need to look presentable and professional, while also doing some serious manual labour like moving sets and carrying hundreds of heavy boxes.
Here are my top 5 essential items that give me the practicality that I need without compromising a professional and fashionable appearance.
Maxi Skirts and Dresses
On more than one occasion, the choice to go ‘Maxi’ has saved my career (and dignity). A maxi dress or skirt is, in my opinion the best way to combine glamour and practicality. You can squat, you can sit, you can stand and you can run around like a mad man. Your legs will be covered so there is no opportunity for the accidental flash of underwear, your silhouette is maintained, and a touch of fashion and glamour will be added to your incredibly practical outfit.
Somedays my job requires me to stand on my feet for 18 hours a day, which obviously makes my feet and legs sore. But I’ve never considered buying one pair of shoes for everyday – I choose comfortable and practical shoes. Combat boots, riding boots etc all support your ankle and usually have a great sole on them.
For everyday office wear, Ballerina flats are usually my weapon of choice, they can completely change your look, but still be very practical and glamourous. I usually opt for a ballerina flat with some kind of pattern, embellishment or standout feature. Plain flats can look very boring.
I get most of my flats from gojane.com. They’re ridiculously cheap, which is what I look for. A ballerina flat is a throw away shoe, your foot is flat, you will wear the shoe into the ground, and quickly. You can get great flats for under $30 – they’ll look fantastic, and you wont feel so guilty when they are worn out.
For those of you who’ve never used a hair donut, invest in one now and you’ll never look back. A hair donut will give you the perfect, professional bun in a fraction of the time. When I’m on set, I flick my hair up into a top bun with a medium donut and tie a ribbon around the bun. It gets my hair out of my face without looking frumpy.
For days when you want to look more professional, a larger donut will work wonders. Finally, an easy solution to bad hair days that doesn’t compromise your entire look.
When I’m not living in maxi skirts and maxi dresses, I am wearing stretchy denim, or jeggings. Don’t mistake stretchy denim or jeggings for tights with a denim pattern on it – these should be outlawed.
What I mean by jeggings and stretchy denim is actual denim, with a little more elasticity than your regular, rigid denim.
Jeans are a staple in any persons closet, they can be totally dressed up, or totally dressed down, they can carry you from day to night, and with the right pair, they can also be incredibly practical for work.
I look for stretchy denim with a little bit of give so I can bend, run and move freely at work. With regular denim, simple tasks like bending, sitting and even walking can become a challenge, so if you know you’ll be moving around, always opt for a stretchy denim. Let’s face it, no one wants to see your butt crack at work (or ever) nor do they want to see you grabbing the top of your jeans when you bend over to prevent the reveal, so invest in some stretchy denim stat.
Pair a pretty blouse and some stretchy denim together and you will be unstoppable. You will look better than everyone else, but still have the freedom to move around freely. I get most of my blouses from Forever New, everything they stock is completely my style and there are a thousand ways to wear one item. I also frequently order from modcloth and lulu*s for some blouses and other fashion staples.
There is never an excuse to drop your fashion game, there are hundreds of options for budget friendly, time saving, practical fashion – people just get lazy!