How to Uniform Dress for Any Kind of Job
Because it’s probably the easiest (and chicest) way to get dressed in the morning. In collaboration with Etienne Aigner.
What to wear to work: it can be confusing, even for the most seasoned among us (no word of a lie, I actually asked my boss if I could wear denim cut-offs to work on Fridays—never, ever ask your boss that). A general rule of thumb is to always veer towards professional over casual, even if you work with a collective of hoodie-clad programmers or torn denim-wearing creative directors. There’s also something to be said for dressing the part—and feeling like a real professional when you look like one. But dressing for work doesn’t mean the same thing for a corporate lawyer as it does for an entrepreneur, which is why I decided to conduct a little experiment. With the help of a rack of Etienne Aigner’s fall collection (honestly the best label to make your work day go-to), I put my high school-level method acting to work and put myself in the place of four career types. This is dressing for work, no matter what you do, only with fashion editor rules.
There’s no two ways about it: corporate dressing is all business. The constant, irrelevant criticism of Hillary Clinton’s suits is an apt reminder: for better or for worse, you want your colleagues and clients to focus on you and what you’re saying and doing, rather than your clothes. With that in mind, stick to neutral colors and a streamlined silhouette, with polished, but simple accessories. Play can happen with texture: choose an animal skin-effect bag and contrasting fabrics (in the same shade) when it comes to your shift dress or suit. It might seem boring to talk about, but trust me when I say that this is the kind of outfit that makes your feel like you can take on anything.
I get it—your college t-shirt and totally worn out Converse are industry standard. But anything outward facing where you’re seeing more than just your computer screen in a day, and you might want to step it up juuuust a bit. The key here is to keep things unfussy—so even if you are making an effort, it doesn’t necessarily look like you are. My choices: a fitted sweater that tucks seamlessly into a pair of cropped trousers. Also needed: a bag large enough to fit a tablet. A look like this takes about the same amount of thought as it does to through on your sweatpants and t-shirt, but looks so. Much. Better.
My thinking is that as an entrepreneur, no day is ever the same. And dressing for the day should go by that old Boy Scout maxim: be prepared. And be presentable—you know, should an elevator pitch opportunity suddenly arise. Hands free, as far as I’m concerned, is a major key. Invest in a refined crossbody bag that you can wear with everything and a camel coat for when you need to play working girl.
I suppose my actual job could be considered *creative*—and speaking from experience, I’ve found that a neutral color palette is usually best. (There’s a reason everyone in fashion wears black.) Have some fun with shape and proportion and a wink to the trends of the season. A breezy dress in an unexpected length with a very ‘70s (and very Fall ‘16) necktie is, frankly, perfect.