Why are we consistently afraid to have fun at the workplace? I decided to look through various templates and suggestions for business dress-codes I kept coming across the same suggestions over and over again; “neutral tones,” “avoid patterns,” “no bright colors.” Does that sound like a nightmare to anyone else? Nothing more motivating then heading to work and watch everyone camouflage with desks and printers.
I like to think that no office manager would intentionally create such a gloomy mood, but if there is an option to eliminate the possibility to experience that at our office, I most certainly will.
Those who know me know that I love fashion. I always have and I always will! Since a young age, I would love to mix different patterns, textures, and play with the endless possibilities that clothing had to offer. Whether it would be some polka dots with some bright color, or a flower to boost up my stripes, I never thought of fashion as anything less than fun, and although I am always serious about business–why not have some fun at the workplace?
Mixing pattern CAN be the safe choice!
Did you gasp? Felt a little shaken? Then you are not being adventurous enough with your fashion! Why are we so afraid of a little pattern mixing? We do it, and see it, every day in our day-to-day life. Just think about what your normal routine may look like. You decide to cook your eggs, but you added that extra spice that you love–even if nobody else preps your eggs like you do. You love the way your perfume smells fruity even though your jewelry is classic and understated. Or you may love the way that your favorite local coffee shop has a rustic feel while providing the commodities of modern gadgets and plenty of WiFi.
Mixing patterns in fashion is not any different; you are taking something that you are used to associating with something and choosing to pair it with something entirely different. That’s really all it is! If you think about it, you are making the safe choice because you are no longer having to fit the mold of any one pattern. You’re making your own rules! You are dictating your own trends and there’s no way you can mess up your own style. Now that’s not to say go wild and wear a flower crown with polka dot shirt, stripes pants, and animal print shoes, but your style is a reflection of how confident you are, wear it proudly!
How to pick the winning patterns
Your mind is set, you will take a bit of a risk today. You open the doors to your closet and realized–you have no idea where to start! It can be extremely overwhelming, and trust me I still experience that feeling every week, but there are a few cheats that I use to get me out of my creative fashion-block.
Find a key item to guide you
I am a BIG lover of shoes. If I have to pick one item that I am an addict for, it would have to be shoes. My weakness? Heels. Short heels, high heels, strappy heels, wedged heels, I love all kinds of heels! In fact, the day that I for some reason find myself outside my heels at work, I feel unlike myself and like I am missing a part of me.
It is this sense of connection with my shoes that allowed me to realize that shoes are my wardrobe staple, and I should begin to utilize them as a tool. When I need to plan out my outfit, I always do my best start out with the shoes and let them help me pick out my outfit. I know it sounds a little strange considering it is the smallest fraction of my whole outfit, but you would be surprised to see just how much it helps to pick patterns and colors.
For instance, take a look at my shoes on the photographs. They are an amazing terracotta-earthy tone that absolutely inspires me to feel fashionable, yet grounded in a more casual style. After that it was easy! Find earthy tones, maybe some orange hues, and you will be golden.
The blouse came first, then I spotted the orange flowers in the skirt and was sold! It was cookie, unique, and a bit of a risk, but let me tell you, I felt amazing!
Bring out your own vintage
Do you have any guesses about what my favorite place to shop for patterns is? My own closet. As a self-proclaimed fashionista, I have a tough time throwing out old clothing items that I still love, only because they are out of style. The truth is that fashion evolves sometimes a little too fast for all of us, and I don’t want to miss out on a chance to wear something I fell in love with five years ago, simply because it’s not what’s top style at the moment.
It’s a good thing I never did because every day I find myself pulling old items that I never thought I’d get a chance to wear. check out my skirt for example. I have owned it for several years, and I’m sure that if any of us saw a listing of it on eBay, we would say “ugh! no way! That’s so 2000’s.” But something magical happened that changed that for me…I wore it.
That’s right. There’s no magic formula, no re purposing via cutting, editing, sending it for alterations, I just wore it. I didn’t feel self-conscious or as though I was wearing an old rag and everyone would notice. I actually owned up to it, because I was excited to have found a reason to wear something I hadn’t in a while, and I wasn’t afraid to gush about my vintage find.
Your outfit is only as good as your attitude
Sometimes just wearing bold nail polish can be a risk for some people, and I completely understand that. I also understand that certain professions are not as forgiving as real estate, and you have to adjust according to your industry. However, regardless of what your profession is, or what office’s dress code may be, don’t be afraid to wear your best self with the most confidence.
Maybe you’re mixing black and white prints, maybe you’re playing with a peek-a-boo of color, but what will really make a difference is the demeanor in which you carry yourself. When you go meet clients, or even approach other co-workers, they will see that you are unafraid to be you and that will inevitably make you the main character in your own movie.
I hope that my outfit inspires you to take a risk and to stray away from what we see every day and choose what YOU love. I would love to hear about your adventures in fashion, feel free to send me a tweet on post a comment below, I love responding to feedback.