Despite the illusions I have, I am neither a pensioner nor the owner of a small life annuity on Boulevard Haussmann. We live in a cruel world, where beautiful things too often have to be paid for, and where the banker necessarily knows our address...
Like many, I therefore succumbed to the appeal of entrepreneurship after several years on permanent contracts. "You'll see, Zack. Creating your own company means freedom! ", said my friends who had already taken the plunge. Addicts on books about the Silicon Valley, who subscribed to three different gyms without going to any of them, and would talk Frenglish to their baker if they could — I swear, guys, I love you. Yet, I do not see how making fifteen-hour days is a form of "freedom". Nor chasing after customers who claim to be unable to honor their debts, but nevertheless manage to travel like Celine Dion in the middle of a tour. The same goes for those who refuse any quotation below the amount of their phone bill.
No, the only advantage I have lies elsewhere: being able to work from my living room, in my pajamas.... Although it is a card I don't use often — I easily get scared by crossing my natural face in the mirror —, I have no problem with brandishing it on lazy days. Working in underwear is what true freedom is all about. So, in support of all those who are deprived of it, let us look at the question many ask themselves: how to dress at the office?
I don't intend to tell you exactly which pieces to put on in the morning: you are the best judge of your company's style and, in 99% of cases, a simple glance at the job interview will have already given you a true idea of the repertoire to adopt. On the other hand, my goal is rather to help you determine to what extent you can let your influences run free, without going beyond the rules required of you...
Uniform vs. unique
Whether you serve French fries at McDonald's, sell bags at Louis Vuitton, or Nasdaq stocks, the situation is the same: you wear a uniform on a daily basis. In other words, you have limited flexibility. If your clothes are the main frame, maybe you can play with the materials? Between textures, colours and patterns, vary these parameters to bring diversity to your looks. It is easy to imagine trousers with subtle stripes, or an original scarf, slipping into a sober outfit.
Accessories are an interesting option for the most limited ones among us, especially jewellery. From a rocker silver ring to an ethnic bracelet, a patinated leather bag, a chain attached to your pants or a succession of necklaces with pendants, they express your personality traits without overdoing it.
Besides, the office wear codes have become much more relaxed. The era of pencil skirts and mandatory ties is over for more and more businesses, few will blame you for wearing raw jeans. While the start-up, even more permissive, advocates "come as you are", this model still has its limitations. Chances are you'll be left with a clear field... as long as you stick to the general mold. Yes to the comfort of sweaters and sneakers, no to your sharpest propositions. Why don't you ask my organza shirt cut out at the shoulders...
Finding the right balance
Finding the right balance Some items will always work, no one will ever blame you for wearing a shirt. In terms of shoes, leather one will remain appropriate: derbies, loafers, chelsea boots and pumps will rarely fail you. It is therefore up to you to combine them with less traditional elements and build contrasting looks. Replace your blazer with a perfecto or a military jacket, couple a pleated skirt to a monogrammed t-shirt, or twist your long woolen overcoat with a pair of worn-out Dr Martens.
Sneakers are easily tolerated, both for men and women. Take out your colourful models, the pairs for which you have camped 24 hours in front of a shop, or fall for on a minimalist design on the contrary.
As for cuts, the fitted option is also a sure thing. Remember that for some people, anything loose is about idleness and lack of rigour, two notions that do not belong in a workspace. That said, nothing prevents us from counterbalancing them: controlled proportions will testify more to your eye for aesthetics than any negligence.
And even if it goes without saying, don't show too much skin.
Dress to impress
Clothes make the (wo)man. Your boss is not your friend; the way you dress is the one you are perceived. To our most careerist readers, dress for the position you are seeking, not the one you hold. Overall, the style we adopt at the office is impermeable to fashion weeks. A few trendy touches will undoubtedly slip through, but the main part will probably remain the same. In the end, our corporate wardrobe only changes when we change titles in our turn.
In addition, arm yourself with clothes in which you not only feel comfortable, but also powerful. The ones that flatter your figure and complexion, claiming how reliable and refined you are. Fetishes that boost your self-confidence, in which you believe you can conquer the world and, by the way, the highest strata of your professional life.
Now, run and ask for a raise. You are clearly not paid enough for your valuable services... •