"Dressing well is a form of good manners" (Tom Ford)
Guest blog by Margaret Harris, House of Colour Consultant
And yet since March 2020, it may feel like there isn’t much point in dressing well. So why should you bother?
There has definitely been a trend to dress more casually for some considerable time, and that has very little to do with Covid, and more about personal taste and just a shift in general.
It’s not so long ago that the workplace had pretty strict rules about how you should look and dress, with a considerable amount of formality. This meant structured tailored clothes, with quality hard wearing fabrics, and often sober neutral colours to show a level of importance and authority.
You’ve only got to watch TV series like “Suits”, “House of Cards”, “Scandal” (or watch our politicians on screen) to see that this rule still persists in some quarters.
Casual clothes are great – don’t get me wrong, I love casual clothes. I wear them for my “off duty days”, and have a good choice of casual to see me through holidays, socialising, exercise etc.
But I can’t tell you how good it feels to me, to dress in something with just a little bit of formality and structure. Something that expresses a bit of me and who I am. We still have the ritual of dressing well for weddings, naming ceremonies and end of life celebrations – we are marking an occasion!
I love to see others dressing well too – the very fact that someone has ‘bothered’ makes an occasion more memorable, doesn’t it?
My work is all about face-to-face work with clients, and so to me, every day is an occasion; and I feel we need to honour that in some way, and show that we have self-respect as well as respect for the people we meet each day.
I believe in investing in quality items which will pay me back the “Wardrobe Rent” for years to come, and I certainly don’t have time to endlessly shop (Covid, or no Covid) and have been saddened by the trend over many years now to buy cheap and often. Call me old fashioned if you like, but the throw away outlook on cheap clothes is highly destructive and wasteful. Think of all that time and those resources and the cost - for what? Something that quickly ends up in landfill – that’s disrespecting the planet, as well as ourselves.
If you think about uniforms worn by school children, those in the military or NHS (our beloved NHS), and so on, those uniforms are saying something really important about the wearer, and who they represent. Many businesses still have a dress code, albeit more relaxed. Maybe you have a personal dress code for work, to get you into the right head space. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that we work better, and more efficiently when dressed to ‘work’.
Dressing well is something that gives us a certain level of professionalism, respect (there’s that R word again) and our values. It’s a habit worth perpetuating. I’m not so out of touch that I’m advocating suits (unless that’s your work dress code and your own preference).
What I am saying is that dressing well or using style well, is an excellent way of telling the world who you are, without having to speak (paraphrasing Rachel Zoe).
All of the above also represents why I enjoy using the talents of Annalisa of Atelier Ferrari+Monti in St Albans. Annalisa has a great choice of fabrics which married to her fantastic expertise and ability to interpret my ideas into beautiful, easy to wear pieces, and which I wear over and over again.
Great style is also timeless, so I don’t need to think about anything looking out of date, because it’s unique.
Next time you arrange to meet up with someone for work, or for a social, take a little time over your appearance. Your efforts and thoughtfulness over what you choose to wear will reward all parties in the meeting. It’s not just who you is worth it, so is the person you are meeting!
It’s all about finding what works for every individual in a fun and informative way.
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To find your local House of Colour consultant, visit www.houseofcolour.co.uk.