Finding space for our personal style at work can sometimes feel like the impossible task. From those entrenched in corporate, to those who have taken the giant leap into the world of entrepreneurship and small business and need to step out as the face of a brand, it is indeed possible to inject your own personality and personal style statements into your work wardrobe with a few expert tips.
What better time to devote some energy and effort into your ‘9-5’ than the start of an entirely new decade? The decade where you move from the dreaded state of ‘I have nothing to wear!’ to the possibility and excitement of ‘what shall I wear today?’. And right on time, we have your back with plenty of tips and tricks with our monthly fashion blog written by our Digital Runway stylist, Jenni Sellan.
Of course, you will find the latest inspiration on our digital runway located in the Retail Galleria, but this month we have gone one step further and have asked some of Toowoomba’s very own locals, Anna Claydon, Amy Willis, Jessica Ritchie and Nick Britnell, on how they make room for their personal style in their ‘9-5’ endeavours - its literally runway to real life this month, so really, there are no excuses left. It’s time to change the game!
So let’s get to it, how do you make 9-5 feel like the essence of who you are and also reflect your business and the role you play? Read on for our ‘expert’ opinion!
Tip 1: Take some time to think about how you want to feel and what you want to portray when doing business and interacting with colleagues and clients
This is a great starting point and a question we often forget to ask ourselves.
For example, if you want to feel confident and portray that you are an innovative thinker, choosing pieces that are modern with a distinctive edge will communicate that you are both progressive and professional!
Anna: Flashback to a few years ago, workwear used to be boring. But now, I feel that most work environments allow for much more freedom in dressing. Fashion is a form of expression and I feel it’s important to try new things and not be scared. I like to bring my personal style into my workwear by keeping things simple and chic but with a little bit of edge. A power outfit for me is classic plain tee, oversized high waisted pants with a pair of heels. Because a pair of heels can help you accomplish anything.
Amy: As corny as it sounds my power outfit is my attitude. The actual ‘style’ of my looks change from day to day but I’ll always wear them with confidence. If I’m giving off a confident and fun vibe then that’s all the power I need (but of course, a nicely fitted blazer will help as well).
Nick: It’s a different story everyday within my work at USQ - working with experts to ensure that their stories are told and liaising with different media throughout the day - you’ve got to be on your game and always putting your best foot forward. Style-wise, I’m pretty dependant on my chinos and wear anything from business shirts and blazers to merino wool sweaters, all the way through to a signature polo. Paired with some trusty boots, I always feel comfortable, smart and ready to seize the day.
Tip 2: Remember that statement style is found in the detail
Look for elements that elevate and stand out and think about aspects that you can incorporate that can become a part of your signature style. You might be someone who loves statement sleeves; perhaps you always wear an oversized earring or are known for your fun and quirky choices when it comes to shoes and handbags. Gentlemen, maybe your have become known for your bold tie or colourful socks, maybe you are never seen without your blazer and your black oversized reading glasses? By incorporating the aspects of your wardrobe that you enjoy into your ‘9-5’, you will create a lasting impression for all the right reasons, and your brand will starts to come to life. For example, if hot pink is a part of your branding, find interesting and unexpected ways to add this to your outfit, from your lipstick down to your shoes!
Amy: I’d describe my style as a confident blend of structure and fun! I take cue’s from fashion I see around me and make it my own, I’m a big believer that you can pull off any style if you feel confident wearing it. When in doubt I add a bright shade of lipstick and some heels.
Anna: I’ve got two kids that I chase after, so for me it’s all about being stylish while feeling comfortable. I keep my wardrobe simple and mostly monochrome. Getting dressed for the day is quick when you have quality basics that can be used as the framework to create the perfect outfit.
Tip 3: Accessories are KING when it comes to injecting personality
Accessories can be incorporated into even the most conservative of work wardrobes. Shoes, handbags and statement jewellery are the perfect remedy for bringing your work wardrobe to life. Be remembered for your savvy and your stilettos in the courtroom!
Amy: As a mother of three boys I really look forward to wearing whatever I feel like on my work days without having to think “Is this kid friendly?”. Running your own business and being able to create your own dress code makes it a lot easier to do this. Some days you might find me in a blazer with white pants whereas the next day I might wear a flowy polka-dot dress; it really depends on the mood I’m in. Something that I’m consistent in is my accessories, I love how your shoes, earrings and lipstick shade can completely change up a look.
Jess: I tend to always wear at least one thing that’s a key statement piece which is generally for me – earrings or shoes, lipstick, or over the top sunglasses.
Tip 4: Pops of colour, like accessories, are a fun way to add personality to your style
Especially when your working environment demands something a little more traditional or when your personal brand is lively, energetic and colourful.
Jess: I’m known for wearing a lot of hot pink which is a colour that I’ve worn frequently for over a decade both personally and professionally. It’s a great personal branding identifier for me and the energy and vibrancy that it provides me serves well throughout long work days. I find it feminine, recognisable and energising. Depending on the type of work that I’m doing it can be a relaxed edgy look with an AJE shirt, ripped jeans and pink converse sneakers, through to a hot pink dress with red and pink high heels.
Tip 5: Use prints and interesting fabrications and finishes to create a modern vibe to otherwise classic shapes and silhouettes
Think metallic, polka dots, stripes, bold florals and of course animal prints, which have pretty much become a wardrobe staple!
Jess: My style can be eclectic and I channel whatever vibe that I require for the day or occasion. I love wearing formal dresses and kaftans, blazers and pants, through to ripped jeans and a t-shirt with my hot pink converse sneakers.
So, why not reach beyond the traditional 9-5 suits and silhouettes and inject some personal style into your work wardrobe so that it can effectively speak to who you are and who you aspire to be every day. With a bit of encouragement, we can all experiment with this our 9-5 wardrobe, which if we are honest, takes up a large percentage of your precious closet space!
Get to know Anna, Amy, Jess and Nick.
Now that you know their ‘9-5’ style, get to know the locals who graced the digital runway.
I’m currently in a transition phase in my work life. My youngest daughter has just started school and with the extra time I’m juggling working in my husband’s business along with designing my own fashion line of elevated basics. 2020 is looking like it will be a year of change!
On top of running around after my three boys, I educate business owners on how to lead an engaged and enabled team through my management consulting business ‘Amy Willis Consultancy’. More recently I have started ‘The Lunch Crew’, born out of the trends I was seeing in my consultancy business, with a mission to educate the working community on the importance of taking regular lunch breaks throughout their working week.
I operate as a personal brand, Jessica Ritchie.com. I’m a Brand Expert and create connected personal and business brands through strategic marketing and personal energy management. What makes me different to other marketing professionals is that I am also a Reiki and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, and a Life and Business Coach. This allows me to really discover and harness the unique energy and essence of a brand or business and amplify it in their marketing and communications. I am also the founder of Wondrous Women – a group that connects, empowers and inspires women in business to find the clarity, connection and confidence to live their best lives personally and professionally. I might sound busy but trust me I still have time for fun!
I’m Toowoomba born and bred, currently working in the Media and Communications team at USQ. I also have a performing arts theatre background, and have previous worked overseas at Tokyo Disneyland and theatres in London.