How you dress in general greatly affects how you feel and what image you project to others. This is no different for the workplace. But where dressing professionally used to mean simple suits and skirts, rules now tend to be a lot more relaxed. There is much more room to be bold and personal with your style in a way that helps you make a good impression whilst expressing yourself and feeling confident – something that a lot of us will struggle with during our careers.
In a recent survey by YouGov, almost 60% of respondents admitted to experiencing imposter syndrome in the workplace. This is when you experience feelings of self-doubt or unworthiness – in other words, feeling like an imposter in your role. The same survey also revealed that women were twice as likely to be affected.
With that being said, how can your attire help bolster your professional confidence? Here we’ll go through some of our top tips for doing just that.
1. Dress for you
Before we get into specific cuts and styles, it’s important to first remember to dress for yourself, rather than in a way that makes you feel like another person entirely. Stretching your usual boundaries and trying something completely new is a great way to discover fresh aspects of your style, but you probably won’t feel as confident in clothes that make you totally uncomfortable.
When you’re out searching for your professional attire, remember to take a moment to decide how you feel wearing it. Does it make you feel good? Would you purposefully reach for it in your wardrobe? Do you think you’ll wear it more than once?
When dressing powerfully, taking some of the staples of power dressing is a good place to take a few cues from. While the huge shoulder pads and sharp suits of the ‘70s and ‘80s might move in and out of fashion, choosing fitted or tailored cuts is always a good option to start with.
For example, try pairing your regular white shirt with a boldly coloured pair of high-waisted tailored trousers. You also can’t go wrong with a blazer – versatile enough to be worn with many different styles but elegant enough to give almost any outfit a professional edge.
3. Colours and patterns
The colours you’re probably immediately considering for workplace attire are black and white. And it’s true that they do project a professional, authoritative confidence towards others. But you also shouldn’t be afraid to have a little fun. There isn’t really one colour associated with confidence, rather, they all have different meanings that can influence how you feel.
For instance, red is a very powerful colour that projects strength and passion, helping you feel assertive and ready for anything at work. Yellow, on the other hand, is bright, energetic, and optimistic for when you want to be bursting with enthusiasm. Choosing shades of green, meanwhile, can signify intense creativity. Or if you want to project cool confidence, blue can be a great colour for helping you feel calm and in control.
If you don’t want to wear solid blocks of eye-popping colours, patterns can go a long way to helping you tone it down. Stripes are a great way to add bold colour without it dominating your whole outfit, plus, they’re very flattering and easy to pair with other garments.
When it comes to choosing your accessories, keep balance in mind. If your outfit is minimal or simple, you might want to make it pop with a statement piece – whether that’s a brightly coloured bag, shoes, bold jewellery, or a stand-out watch. On the other hand, outfits that speak for themselves may only need some elegant gold or silver jewellery to complete them.
Wherever you’ll be working, practical accessories are also a must. A carefully chosen outfit deserves a well-crafted umbrella to protect it from those drizzly and rainy days. Our chic, designer umbrellas are perfect for almost any professional outfit. Alternatively, our classic birdcage umbrellas can add a more playful look and we’ve got plenty of colours to choose from, so you can pick one that matches the palette of your outfit.
Heels may have reigned supreme for years when it comes to women’s professional attire, but you can still project confidence, and save your feet a few aches, by pairing your outfits with knee boots, chunky loafers, or simple ballet pumps instead.
In all, it’s important to remember that ultimately, confidence comes from within. So, while you’re following all these tips and tricks listed above, keep in mind that it’s not always about choosing the ‘best’ style or the best colour, but rather what works best for you.