Category men’s image
What to wear for a smart casual dress code
We thought we would share this article, which has been featured on the Total Jobs website, with you as we feel sure you will find it an interesting read.
If you have recently made the switch from a corporate office where your work uniform was a tailored suit to a more creative industry with an informal dress code you may be struggling with what to wear.
Anna De Vere Director of Corporate Training and Development at CMB Image explains what is and is not appropriate for an informal office environment.
In a work environment what you choose to wear will reflect on your attitudes to work and form part of your personal branding. Work colleagues, particularly new ones will make instant assumptions about you based on what you are wearing. This might seem scary but, you really only have 30 seconds to make a lasting impression and if it’s your first day in a new office you want it to be the right one!
Don’t forget also that you’ll also be judged on your body language, the way you use your voice and lastly the words that you use!
So, what should you wear to work?
Many people who work in a corporate environment like the comfort that wearing a suit provides. It limits choice and all you need to do is make sure that the colour is appropriate for your skin tone and that the shape complements your figure. The shirts and tops worn with your outfit are the only areas where you’ll really be able to express your personality and even then you are likely to keep to a palate of safe colours, after all you don’t want to stand out too much from your colleagues. But what about a more informal environment which claims to have a ‘smart casual’ dress code?
The first step
Your starting point should be to understand your body shape and what makes you look and feel good. Clothing is either constructed along straight lines, which gives a garment a more rigid, structured form, or along curved lines, which gives the more fluid shape that tends to follow the curves of the body.
Secondly, gain an understanding of your own colouring and what colours make you look professional and approachable. This is determined by hair and eye colour along with skin tone, and everyone falls in to one of six different palettes. It’s really important to make sure that the colours of your work clothes match with your skin tone and hair colour. If they are too strong then they will drain the colour from your face, too pale and they can make you look sallow.
Colour also plays a key part in how others perceive you, medium shades from your colour palate will help you to appear approachable, something to consider if you’re in a team leader role. If you are in a customer facing role and need to appear friendly then less formal attire will work well, dressed in this way is also like to make you feel comfortable and confident and help you engage with clients.
Finally you need to remember that you are dressing for work and that will you need to appear both professional and approachable. Avoid jeans at all costs, just because the dress code is smart casual it is not an excuse to wear your jeans no matter how smart they might be. Swap your suits for tailored trousers, skirts and dresses, and formal shirts for shaped or wrap around tops. If you want to add a jacket then a waterfall jacket or piece of knitwear in this style would work well.
If you are a chap then chinos or smart slacks will strike the perfect note. Swap your formal shirt and ties for shirts with button down collars. A blazer or sports jacket is a great wardrobe staple, worn with slacks its strikes just the balance when you need to appear smart but don’t want to revert to a suit
Our CMB Image division of the business works with teams and managers within the private and public sector on improving Personal Branding which will contribute to the overall success of any organisation. Please visit CMB Image for further details.
Images courtesy of Pinterest
Is he a clothes casualty?
With Father’s Day fast approaching this gave me the idea to write a blog on men and the way they dress.
Does your husband/partner need help with choosing which clothes to wear each morning? Well if so, he’s not alone.
The men in our life often rely on us to help or even do their shopping for them. If men leave their choice of clothes to others, bear in mind that this intervention may reflect how those close to them, see them and wish to influence them, rather than how they want to be perceived by the rest of the world.
For all of us, managing our appearance is an important part of who we are. It makes a visual statement about our personality and our lifestyle, as well as indicating our abilities and confidence. In today’s world, image really does matter.
As a personal stylist, I use a very different approach when working with men to women. With ladies I need to use a consultative approach with what clothes I am advising and discussing with them style wise, with men they just want to know the rules – what to do and what to avoid doing. They like structure and logic generally.
Especially today in the ‘smart casual’ world of business, men need to look authoritative without wearing a suit. One of my clients – an interim management consultant and non-exec director who came to see me recently said.
“Well you have started something! My visit to you has made me feel much more confident about clothes and I am amazed about the impact. I have been culling inappropriate clothes (charity shops doing ok). The new concept in blue suit / shirts / sweaters etc., to suit my colouring and build are now in the wardrobe and also tailored shirts etc. Thanks for your help and I had a great time. Bit of a revolution really – new man! “
Top ten common mistakes men make when dressing:
- The wrong shoes – casual shoes with a suit rather than Oxfords, brown shoes with grey or black suit
- Light coloured suits – keep them for visits to Europe where they are fashionable, its not a good look for the UK
- Short sleeve shirts – even in summer men should wear a long sleeve shirt and roll back the cuffs
- Socks and ties – avoid mismatched socks or socks and ties with cartoons
- If he works in a more casual environment, don’t think that because everyone looks scruffy, he needs to join the pack – encourage him to be a cut above the rest – he will be noticed for it
- If your man travels a lot, choose non-crease fabrics such as wool. Do the scrunch test for three seconds with your fist. If the fabric creases in that time, imagine how it will look after a long train or car journey when he arrives at that all important client meeting
- Frayed collars – shirts do not last forever!
- Scuffed or dirty shoes – people notice!
- Out of date suit – it’s worth investing in a new one for that all job interview, don’t wear the one in the cupboard bought for his last interview in 2008
- Ensure the fit is right, for example, trousers that are too long or too short can decrease the impact made. It looks like he couldn’t be bothered.
A final thought –
“A man should look as though he has chosen his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.”
Written by Shan Williams, Personal Stylist.
Many of our consultants are qualified in men’s image, why not book the man in your life a men’s image gift experience? www.colourmebeautifulshop.co.uk/product/gift-experiences/colour-for-men-gift-package or visit www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk/consultant/search/ and just pop in your postcode to find out who is nearest consultant to you who offer men’s image services and send them an email? We have the expertise and I am sure you will find us approachable and friendly.
Lots more to look at on www.pinterest.com/colourmebeautuk/dapper-dads/
(Image courtesy of Pinterest – Ricky Martin with his gorgeous boys!)