Dress to Impress21:21:00
It's a terrible cliche but I can't think of a catchier blog title...
So I start a new job tomorrow and frankly, I'm bricking it. I'm returning to the world of traditional retail, albeit in an expanded role. I'm excited but nervously so.
One of the biggest challenges (for me anyway) is returning to a semi-formal work wardrobe.
I've been relatively lucky in my career over the past few years to be in non-facing roles, so there have been no firm rules regarding work attire. I'd never rock up to work in tracksuit bottoms, but jeans, casual shirts and boots formed my usual outfits. Stepping back onto the shop floor meant I had to confront one of my biggest hates; trying on trousers.
I am a man of odd proportions, especially in trouser fittings. I have sizeable calves and thighs but no bum - I often have to go up a waist size to fit my legs and then you get that unflattering pouchy crotch when you tighten your belt. Also, I'm a short-arse so most trousers have to be altered too.
Anyway, I steered clear of most of the high street stores such as Topman, River Island and H&M as I knew there was no chance I'd find anything to fit. I decided to check out Matalan on a whim (and partially as I don't have a huge budget to build a new work wardrobe at present) and was pleasantly surprised with their fittings. I picked up 2 pairs of trousers under £20 each with the mindset that they can be replaced without going broke. I went for classic navy and a grey herringbone. I thought these would be the most versatile colours to pair with shirts.
I think sticking to the tried and tested colour combinations are always going to serve you well when dressing for a new occasion. There will be plenty of time later to inject some more character or experiment with colours etc once you've established the correct dress code.
I personally never wear black trousers, I just don't find them flattering on me and think they are actually harder to co-ordinate than navy or grey. It's just too harsh so I leave black for funerals.
My avoidance of black also applies to shoes. I know this is controversial to many dapper folk and flies in the face of tradition, but I just hate to look down and see black shoes. I opt for tan or brown, both of these work really well with greys and navy.
I'm pairing this with a new burgundy wool flannel tie I was recently sent by TM Lewin, The colour is masculine and strong without being too bold. It's pretty versatile too and will work with sharp white shirts or shades of blue. I also like the contrasting texture, it makes a change from the usual silk sheen.
To finish the look, I'm wearing tan brogues (what else would you expect from a blog called rogues+brogues?) from Last Shoe and an understated tan belt from Zara,
Never wear a branded logo belt in a professional setting. Please.
I've also chucked in my (well worn) tan Mulberry wallet and my tortoiseshell glasses. If I can't act intelligent, I can at least look it, right?
TM Lewin also kindly sent me a gorgeous pocket square. While in subtle grey, the bold geometric pattern is eyecatching. I'd suggest wearing it in a navy suit to make the most of the colour and pattern.
Again, with any workwear wardrobe, versatility is key. You want something that can work in a few combinations and ensure you can wear it your way
As soon as I hit the publish button, I'm off to iron my shirt, tidy up my beard and get an early-ish night. Wish me luck!
Are you an office maverick and push the boundaries of professional attire or more of a conservative connoisseur, dressing for work not for fun?
I hope to feature a few more workwear outfits in the coming months as I embrace my new role. Watch this space!