The DREADED Work Wardrobe

In our regular weekly team meeting here at The EA Institute, we were brainstorming ideas for what content we can create to add value to you and what will help you succeed.

Part of our list that came up was ‘The Work Wardrobe’.

Not surprisingly, we had a bit of contention about what this could mean, and what this could and should mean. Often, we are told our work wardrobe needs to be “smart”, “professional” etc. So what does this look like to you? We agreed that in most people’s minds, it looks something like this:

This was backed up by researching ‘work wardrobe’ via google and coming across multiple sites that promote this type of work wear. But who set this standard? Where is the personality? And why is it so boring…

Shouldn’t we have a bit of ourselves at work too? What I wear doesn’t affect my quality of work, but interestingly it does affect my performance and productivity. The honest truth is if I don’t feel great, I’m unlikely to give my best.

To help you get into my mind and visualise what I believe, here is a roundup of what I would consider ‘work appropriate’, but still enough of me to make me feel like myself, a fun\, happy, stylish woman, but also a powerful, professional, fierce woman:

More workplaces are embracing the different, and realising self-expression is part of how we value ourselves whether this is through our clothes, make up, piercings, hair colour, tattoos and so on. The key is to keep it tidy.

Money can be an issue when it comes to being able to afford what we want to wear day in, day out. Research before you go shopping so you know what look you want. Shop smart at discounted places and buy last season’s pieces. You can afford to have a few key items that bring in your style to an otherwise drab outfit. 

So now that we have got some really awesome work wear, we are faced with separating it all out, right (into work vs play)? I hated wearing something out with friends to dinner that I’d worn to work day in day out. It might have looked great, but it didn’t make me feel great. And that is the difference.

It might be an amazing piece, but not everything is meant to make you feel amazing everywhere (I wouldn’t wear a sensational work outfit to a baby shower and vice versa). 

Seriously, some of you may not relate at all, but this is how seriously I took it, and again, how much it affected my performance!

So I created this rule – pick a few items of your ‘personal wardrobe’ clothing that you have worn almost to death, and then put them in the work wardrobe section. This way you now have a piece you still enjoy but in your personal wardrobe you are not wasting an item that you ‘got over’, plus wearing it to work will make it feel like new again. Especially when you get compliments! You mean this old thing? 😉

And for an added bonus, you can now shop for a new ‘personal wardrobe’ item too!


Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually dreamed of wearing those clothes in picture 1 and being in an office, looking all ‘corporate fancy’ and what not.

BUT I literally cannot wear these kinds of clothes anymore. As I’ve grown into myself and know who I am, I need a bit of edge, a bit of sass, a bit of style to make me feel like me.

What does this say about me? Am I putting the wrong emphasis on the wrong things?

I’m going to go ahead and make a bold claim that my performance is directly related to what I wear. Hear me out.

In terms of what I value and what I enjoy, fashion is really up there for me.

This doesn’t’ make me superficial, it’s just something I enjoy – just like some people love cooking (I hate cooking!).

Putting on clothes that I absolutely LOVE makes me so happy, and I always have a better day, whether at work or otherwise. You know that feeling when you have an event and you get to put on the new dress, shoes, earrings etc., and you feel a million bucks? That feeling. That’s what I try for every day, with clothes I already own.

Working as a support staff member, we often get pigeonholed. So, I don’t want my clothing and outward appearance to strengthen that perception, I want to break the status quo. I am me, and who I am is more than what a job title says.

Anyone else feel like that?

Perhaps you just never know where to start with what you are wearing.

Or, maybe clothes aren’t important to you.

Maybe it’s about your hair. Or in fact, that million bucks feeling has zero to do with your appearance.

What is the one thing that makes you feel more confident and happy, and gets the best out of yourself? Maybe meditation, exercise, time with your baby?

Pay attention to yourself and start to incorporate what creates this feeling in to your morning routine. 

Live your life for you too, not just for what you do.

If you relate in any way, let us know so we can provide more content in this area for you!

P.S. Here is our EAI collective definition because, why not? Who said we couldn’t create this and break the status quo?

Work Wardrobe:

The section of your wardrobe that is mainly for work purposes. It instills a feeling of confidence about yourself, and excitement to go to work for the day. It doesn’t allow other’s thoughts and judgements deter you from feeling amazing. It is not necessarily what everyone else wears, but it is still ‘work appropriate’ (NB: not too short and not heavy boobage), in a stylish manner that is you. It makes you go to work feeling alive, productive, and most importantly, yourself. Your Work Wardrobe is to be respected and loved; for what you give to it, gives back to you. It is empowering, and nurturing, and fosters your best self.

It’s not to be taken lightly, nor to be pushed over. 

Your Work Wardrobe, is you.

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