Dress with Purpose - Working in Style

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It happens all the time in our stores; a customer storms into Plum because she has a job interview, or is meeting an important client or has advanced to a new position.  Many women hate to shop for clothing so they put it off... and who can blame them when there are so many stores where the staff do not know how to really help.  They certainly don’t know what it is like to work at your job.
 
As part of our training program, we’re looking at the different levels of formality in different workplaces and developing wardrobe formulas to help you choose a complete wardrobe for your career. Because Western Canada is generally pretty casual, it can be tricky to navigate the business workplace while keeping true to your personal style.  No one ever seems to explicitly state what makes up the different levels of formality and employers don’t want to tell their team what they should purchase.  And the wheels really come off the wagon on Casual Friday (which we think is basically dead!).  Here’s the lowdown; some general guidelines we think will work to figure formality into your position at work:
 
  1. Number: the more pieces of clothing you’re wearing, the more formal you are.  The exception is a dress.   See Colour, Pattern and Style below for guidance on dresses. 
  2. Colour: the more colour you wear, the more casual you are.
  3. Pattern/Texture: the more patterns or textures you wear, the more casual you are.
  4. Accessories: more of these, and more chunky or colourful equals more casual.
  5. Style: the level of tailoring and the smoothness and tightness of the weave makes a garment more formal. 
  6. Shoes: is it a science or an art?  The right shoes can make all the difference. Soft and flat is more casual than heels and polish.  
 
* CAUTION: These are only general guidelines and there are exceptions to all of them.  Plum associates are trained to assist you in finding what works for you.
 
Most professional women today "dress for the occasion," at work.  A suit is in order for meeting the big client but if you are knuckling down with the 'team' for the day, the comfort of well chosen separates might put everyone at ease and in a creative spirit.  It doesn't matter who designed your jersey jacket, jeans or yoga pants... they almost never belong at work.  If you take pride in what you wear it will show that you take pride in the work you do.  So with or without a dress code, you can have your own code and you will inspire others to do the same... and all without rules!
 
Katherine Lazaruk's picture