Over drinks at the Delaunay (a luxurious cafe-style restaurant in the heart of London) with a close friend from Georgetown, we started talking about work, then fashion, then both. At work, we agreed, what you wear can make you or break you. My friend remarked that:
There is a fine line between the professional and over-the-top or sexy look.
It’s a good point. How do you strike a balance between looking sexy and professional?
Men, you might think you don’t have to worry about this…but you do. Unbutton one button too many and the chest hair starts popping out (here’s a good article on how to tackle that problem). Or if your socks are too short you risk showing off your bare legs (not a nice sight in the boardroom).
Women, we have to worry about skirt length (four fingers above your knee is a safe bet), colour of our lipstick and nail polish (discrete), jewellery (not too flashy) and even our hair (no frizz!).
It’s a difficult one to navigate, this world of proper work attire. Best advice is to use your common sense. If you think it looks a bit risqué, then don’t wear it. You’ll feel uncomfortable and will question yourself throughout the day. Better to wear something that is maybe a bit boring but at least it’s safe (or to button up that shirt if you couldn’t figure out how to make a v-shape with magnets).
If all else fails, refer to UBS’ 43-page employee handbook which tells employees what to wear, what to eat, and how to smell.
Oh wait, you can’t. They were mocked in the media and blogosphere and have since withdrawn it. A shame, because it actually did contain some useful tips. (Check some of them out here)
Bottom line: When in doubt, button up! You can unbutton when you’re heading to the bar.