Professional Fashion – Striking The Balance Between Fabulous and Formal

  • Blog Post

Whether you’re starting a new job or you simply want to revamp your office attire, choosing a killer outfit for the workplace can be a daunting prospect. You want to convey professionalism without too much frivolity, but without showing your character you risk being overlooked. Striking the balance between fabulous and formal isn’t just important to help you look and feel great, but it can have a huge impact on your career progression. Our outward appearance is what most people judge us upon, so don’t give them a chance to think of you as anything less than fabulous!

If you work in a creative environment, you’ll likely find that you have far more license with your wardrobe. Graphic design, marketing and (of course!) fashion; often give their employees a free reign on their dress code. Your task here is finding the line between extravagance and overkill. Remember that less can be more, especially in the coming Spring/Summer season. All clues indicate that monochrome, particularly black and white, is going to be the killer style during the warmer months. Monochrome makes it very easy to tone down your overstated outfits with the inherent professional colour scheme.

The dress code of ‘smart casual’ is every fashionista’s worst nightmare. Whilst it offers an incredible range of outfits, it can be information overload and we all know the ‘steam-from-the-ears’ feeling when you just can’t make a decision. Think ‘smart casual’ as a formal dress code, but one which remains friendly and approachable rather than professional and intimidating. Accessories are a good way to make an outfit more casual. This season the maxi skirt opens up the opportunity of a fresh smart casual look but stick to block colours to avoid looking like your on holiday. Pencil skirts can take a print as the shape determines professionalism and look great when teamed with a textured blouse, but keep any frills to a minimum. When it comes to shoes, heels are there for you to choose with your comfortable height. Remember take your flat pumps for that walk to the bus stop, train station or car park or you may be fit for nothing when you arrive at work!


A fully formal dress code is a double-edged sword. It gives us a very clear style, but it offers little in terms of expressing our own style. Trouser suits or blazer and shirt combinations are the easiest to execute here, but only the shirt gives you scope for personality. Use your blouse wisely, with subtle but noticeable texture and detail to offer some offset from the grey and black blocks. Medium heels should be worn, whilst jewellery should be limited to a minimal amount of gold or silver alone.


Remember that across any workplace environment, there are still a few things that are never acceptable. Avoid revealing too much skin, particularly on the unnatural areas like your midriff. Avoid over-dressing but don’t risk under-dressing. No naked toes, peep toes in a bank or legal office is unacceptable and unprofessional. It’s easy to say that it may take you a while to find the balance but you want to get it spot on, first time. The most important thing to remember when dressing for your job is comfort. Tight blouses that gape at the bust look cheap. As do scuffed shoes that need re-heeling.

Part of dressing for a professional environment is feeling comfortable so that your productivity is at its maximum. Then both your body and your boss will be happy!

If you need some advice in professional style in the city, a personal styling day or corporate dressing day with Suzanne can be exactly what you need. Get in touch with us to find out more about quotes and availability.