We each spend a lot of time in our work clothes, so we should feel comfortable in them. Many companies have a dress code as a way of maintaining a company identity or matching a certain level of formality. Whilst a dress code is not intended as a punishment, it can feel restrictive in some cases. However, even with the strictest of dress codes, there are often still ways to express your individuality. Here are just a few ways that you can stay individual with a dress code.
Tailor your clothing
Want your suit to stand out? Why not get it professionally tailored? There are many companies that sell bespoke suits that can then be custom-fitted to your measurements. This way, you won’t be left with baggy sleeves or short trouser legs. A suit built to your exact specs is sure to offer more comfort and make you feel happier at work.
Make your shoes stand out
Most companies may ask you to wear a specific type of shoe, but this can still often offer a lot of freedom. Many companies may only specify black formal shoes. Men may often wear brogues, whilst women may wear heels or black dolly shoes. These needn’t be the only type of footwear you consider and it’s worth thinking outside the box. Comfort is key, so prioritise this before appearance – a nice pair of heels might not be ideal for a job that requires a lot of walking around.
Express yourself with accessories
You can also express yourself with accessories. This could be anything from a funky wristwatch to a colourful tie to a showy pair of earrings. These accessories may be able to provide flecks of colour to black boardroom attire. Certain accessories may not be practical for the job, but these will usually be outlined in a dress code policy.
Know the boundaries
It’s important to respect the boundaries. If your employer specifies a suit, this may not be an excuse to buy the most colourful and garish suit. In a formal setting this may be inappropriate and your boss may think you’re trying to rebel. The aim should be to make yourself feel more comfortable, but this should be done sensibly.
If you really don’t like a dress code, you may be able to argue against it in some cases. You may find a colour too ugly and other employees may agree. You may find that the dress code is too formal for the type of client you’re dealing with (many creative industries such as marketing have found that breaking free of a suit can come across more freethinking to other businesses). There may even be parts of the dress code that you think are harmful or insensitive such as having to wear heels or a short hemmed skirt or not being able to wear religious items. In all these cases, talk to your employer about the issue. Just make sure you’re being reasonable.