Usually the only things we associate with time at work are deadlines, punctuality, meetings—all the boring stuff—and at some point, all these take a toll on you. You’re tired, lazy, burnt out. Nothing wrong with that except, looking good and creating an impression takes a backseat. All because we want to put together something, with minimal effort.
Unfortunately, for one reason or the another, some of us get the easy part right—sacrificing our image.
So how do you avoid these mistakes? What can you do to simplify the process without looking like you wore your sheets to work?
You go TIMELESS.
Google, watch movies, or look through old family photos and you’ll notice some styles just work—no matter which era you live in. In fact, this is probably the first thing you should do before expanding your wardrobe.
Guys, most of what we wear is timeless anyway but I will touch on some must-haves if you don’t already have them.
Ladies, you have a variety of options to choose from but here are my top picks and why I think if you don’t even have an ounce of push to dress up, these pieces will still keep you on top of your game.
The white top
One of the timeless pieces ever: the white top. Its ability to match a variety of bottoms makes it very handy for those lazy days. There are two ways with this. One is the buttoned-down white shirt option, perfect for formal days because all you need is a pencil skirt or high-waist pants and the look is complete. Then there’s the white T-shirt. A great option for when you plan to take casual Fridays seriously.
Tip: Having a sweater comes in handy. You can put it over your buttoned down for that preppy, semi-formal look.
Not just timeless, but a must-have. This is what you wear with that white T-shirt or if it’s a semi-formal sort of day, with the buttoned-down white shirt. I know they aren’t the most comfortable, especially when we’re talking minimal effort, but consider skinny jeans. They accentuate your form, so while your top and shoes are free and easy, you have that one piece that maintains shape and order. Baggy jeans just set you up for a hip-hop dance battle.
The pencil skirt
This is one of my favourites. The pencil skirt does a great job in bringing out a woman’s figure and has been doing just that for decades. Pair it with that white shirt, or any other blouse or top (Important reminder: pay attention to colour combo), a nice pair of black pumps, hair tied in a bun, a gold watch and you’re going to get some, if not, a few stares for sure.
The black dress
Even you have to know that the black dress is as timeless as it gets. You can hardly ever go wrong with a few black dress options in your wardrobe. Throw on a couple accessories, your favourite heels and you are on your way to stopping time. There’s nothing like seeing a woman in a timeless black dress.
Two words. Leather jacket. The weather hasn’t been kind, I know, but if you’re in an extremely cold, air-conditioned office, make use of it. We don’t get many opportunities with jackets in this region. But if it was me, a freezing office is all the reason I need. This goes great with that casual white T-shirt and jeans ensemble on Fridays or even as an accessory to that black dress. It works with almost everything, making it handy for those “outfit’s a miss” days to add some order and style.
Really quick, here are a few pairs that you must have if you’re planning to pull off the timeless look. (1) Simple black heels. They can be pumps or open toe, it is up to you. But keep a pair close. They match almost everything you have and no doubt are timeless. (2) Next is a pair of flats to keep that timeless look going on while spoiling your feet a little bit. (3) Last is a pair of boots. They can get warm but work great with some black dresses, blue jeans and a T-shirt or to match that leather jacket you love.
Putting it all together: For men
Guys, most of our outfits are timeless. You can’t go far from the pants, jeans, shirts, and jackets. The biggest difference now would probably just be the fit. However, here are some of my personal favourites for timeless staples.
The plain crew neck tees that go oh-so-well with denim. Plain or checkered oxford shirts to go with your khakis and loafers or indigo denim and your Doc Marts. A denim or biker jacket for a little bit of that bad boy persona and last but not least, you’ve heard me say it before, indigo jeans. Dark indigo or even blue jeans for that matter, compliments so many pieces. They look great preppy, they look great grungy, they look great all round.
If you think about it, timeless pieces are as much timeless as they are must-haves. They have evolved, from being just timeless pieces, to staples in wardrobes all around the globe. I hope some of the picks I’ve shared here will inspire or open you up to the possibilities of timeless outfits and their practicality for the workplace while still retaining an edge. As always, have fun. If it starts to hurt, rethink your approach.
Joshua Desmond is a recording artist and an award-winning adman. Between music and work, he moonlights as a freelance image consultant and stylist. He works closely with Paperplane Pursuit and has appeared in publications such as Juice, Masses, August Man and Esquire. He was one of the Top 5 in Esquire Malaysia’s Best Dressed Real Man in 2014. He believes style does not require a huge bank account, just the right amount of inspiration and resourcefulness. To engage with us for more style tips, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Image Matters articles, click here.