Branding. As an entrepreneur, I have experienced first hand how vital branding is to a company. As a woman at work, branding also applies on a personal level.
At the office, you are essentially your brand. What would your brand images be? Efficient? Hard-working? Creative? Genuine? These would indeed be valuable characteristics of your personal brand. However, they are not the only ones that matter to the world.
As we are mere human beings, we all (including your colleagues) could be influenced by physical appearances. That is why looking polished affects positively how people assess you, no matter how capable you are; just like packaging matters, however good the product is (think Apple).
If we break it down here, looking polished certainly is composed of several elements: outfit, hair, make up, mani/pedi and more. In this post we will focus on outfit: simply because it is the element that has the most impact.
The way you dress affects how you carry yourself, and looking polished often projects a specific mind-set. For working moms, this impact translates into a smoother transition between their various roles.
Don't get me wrong- I'm not saying you should spend half an hour everyday fussing over what to wear to work while there are still 101 things (potentially some urgent diaper changing) to attend to. I do believe thought if you are determined, you can always find a more efficient and creative way to do things, whether at work or at home.
Here, creating your own office uniforms is the answer to efficient dressing. Once you establish a few sets of staple office outfits that work for you (and your office dress code), you will be able to quickly and easily recreate the looks with different pieces from your wardrobe, day after day.
This is my formula for looking chic and put-together without looking as if you are trying too hard: 1 polished piece + 1 or 2 casual pieces + a pair of polished shoes that you can walk (reasonably) comfortably in.
To get you started on creating your own office uniforms, check out 4 of my looks created based on the formula, anchored around one polished piece each. These will work particularly well if your office (like mine) has a 'smart casual' dress code.
1. Blazer + T-shirt + Jeans/Leggings
2. Pencil Skirt + Snugly Fitted T-shirt (for summer) or Sweater (for the colder days)
3. Shirt + Leather Jacket + Jeans/Leggings
4. Structural Long Vest + Sweater Dress