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Are you projecting the right image at work?

Are you the typical gray trousers-white shirt guy at office? Do you fear wearing a bold tie? Or are you one of those who sports neon and bling? Having worked in the corporate environment for seven years before launching my image consulting firm I have been exposed to the two extremes of workplace dressing: too serious and often boring OR too casual to be taken seriously. Very few people achieve both: look chic and be taken seriously at work. So the question is how to achieve a distinct chic appearance that is appropriate for the workplace?

This brings to mind the time I was working in the US and there I discovered that people who took dressing up for the workplace too seriously sometimes appeared too authoritative or boring... and often failed to connect with their colleagues. I remember a colleague who would wear a collared white shirt with the buttons closed right up to the top and paired this with a gray jacket and trousers. There was such an unfriendly air about her that people stayed away from her during work hours and office parties!!
What is the dress code to remain chic but not severe OR over-the-top in a contemporary corporate environment?
While serious authoritative dressing can restrict you from connecting with colleagues and clients I believe one should stay away from a casual look as those people often struggle to establish credibility and authority. One of my team members during a previous job was always appropriate as per the business casual dress code but seemed to get appreciated almost every day!! She added something interesting to her look each time: scarf, necklace, shoes with a striking pattern, color blocking or new hairstyle. As a new employee, she created a niche in the office with her distinct style and friendly nature. Men often complain of fewer options and most go with black-gray-navy pants with white-blue shirt. How about a bright yellow tie... pocket square... or a really nice timepiece? It is all about wearing something unusual and chic.
Does 'power dressing' actually work during team and client meetings?
Being appropriate, accepted, appreciated and making an impact at work is not always about Power Dressing. For client and team interactions, power dressing may make you appear too authoritative and distant... making you unable to connect with them! Power dressing should be for the boardroom and official meetings unless of course that is the dress code for your industry. Here too you can reveal a hint of personal style through accessories while keeping the rest of the look serious. 
If senior colleagues offer an invitation for drinks on Friday evening what should one wear and how friendly or distant should one be?
For post-office interactions like cocktails... do not keep the clothing or the conduct too severe or too friendly. Strike the right balance... you have to be appropriate but interesting. On days like these you could wear a dress and team it with a summer jacket in office and take it off during the evening. Or do the same with a chic blouse. Remember to accessorize. Men should take the tie and jacket off as it will make them appear more approachable and friendly. PS It is not appropriate to restrict the converstion to work... the idea of such interactions is to connect with each other so keep it relaxed and do not go overboard with the alcohol!
Business suits with a pop of color
A bold tie
Formal straight dress with obi wrap belt
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04-JUNE-2012 Gayatree Sehgal
Sonia - If you are at Fashion Week most days, it is a great opportunity to sport different looks. You can choose to wear playful dresses, kaftans, jumpsuits half or full etc. However if you are more of a classic look person, add punch through colourful accessories. Flats are comfy but can make you look drab if you wear them all the time. So go for comfortable options that will give you height like wedges, platforms or block heels! Whatever you do, be comfortable and feel great about what you are wearing ...and of course don't hesitate experimenting a bit!
04-JUNE-2012 Gayatree Sehgal
Kalpana, for work wear cigarette pants with semi-fit tunics that ends somewhat above knees (it is different from a kurta and gives a more casual feel). You can also wear straight or slightly flared skirt with semi-fit top that should not be tucked in and use a belt over the top to create a waist. Accessorize around the face to draw attention to upper body.
03-JUNE-2012 Sonia Mehrason
I visit fashion weeks a lot as most designers are friends. What does one wear each day or is it better to play with accessories? I have no choice but to wear comfortable (not flattering) footwear as there are always 2-3 shows, VIP lounge and some party!
03-JUNE-2012 Kalpana Nair
I'm quite heavy on the hips and have some tyres. What do you think would suit me? I'm 5'5.
29-MAY-2012 Gayatree Sehgal
Employees with most premium brands are expected to project the image that their brand represents. For clothing brands, employees are a great way to flaunt the latest collections. Both these things are true for employees who deal with customers/clients/media. So it's recommended that you wear these clothes but you can always wear them in your own unique style especially separates and have fun with the look! For example: take the top from the brand's latest collection and pair it with a bottom from another brand or just use an accessory like a scarf from the collection.
29-MAY-2012 Nandini Guha
I work with a luxury brand in New Delhi. During work it is expected of us to wear the latest collection which the brand sends us. Am I supposed to wear this during social evenings where media is present or can I be 'off hours' and wear other brands too? I'm so confused.
29-MAY-2012 Gayatree Sehgal
As you can see above, I'm recommending a hint of trendy and stylish for a chic look. I can understand pressures in fashion industry but at the end of the day it's about creating your own personal style that will create a distinct personal brand for you... whereby your style is prominent vs trends or brands. Pick the trends based on your style and not vice versa!
28-MAY-2012 anonymous
I work with a fashion magazine and I get paid real good. But the mandate here is: you have to wear the hottest trends each season coordinated with shoes, bags, jewels. Trust me I have t come in to work looking like a model or something's missing!!!
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2012-11-19 09:45:02 PURR-FECT LOOK FOR RESORT