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How to Dress Things Down?
Here comes I on Image’s style guide on how to dress things down. These 5 amazing ways to dress down your formal outfits will help you to get more out of your existing wardrobe. Get better style with less items!
Is your wardrobe full of formal work wear from the time when business style was far more dressier and traditional? Perhaps you are working from home now and don’t want to wear a suit on Zoom or your job description has changed altogether to a more business casual direction.
Predominant IT and start-up culture have molded the way we dress to work a lot in the recent years. Working from home is getting increasingly more popular, especially since the pandemic. Suddenly a suit with a pair of heels can feel somewhat stuffy and out of touch. But throwing away fine tailoring just feels so very wrong!
If the item still fits then perhaps you could just wear it in a less formal way. Keep on reading and get better style with less items. Your wallet will thank you -and the planet too. My styling tips are always practical and with a hint of green thinking. So don’t be afraid to style around your existing business wardrobe.
The Art Of Dressing Down Your Formal Business Style
Successful workwear choices are very much about belonging and being a part of your company culture, whether you are actually in the office or not, and now it’s time to look a bit more relaxed. Business formal dress codes are changing into business casual or smart casual ones in many offices.
With my style advice you can learn the art of dressing down. Just a few simple fashion tips will help you to achieve that effortless chic that looks so good on everyone. Few are my personal styling clients who actually had to start completely from scratch. I usually start by looking at what you already have.
I bet that you could make these style ideas work for you with the items that you already own. You can mix up the office fashion ideas listed below. Or just pick one powerful way to express yourself through your workwear style.
My Business Casual Style Advice For You
- Add a casual shoe. This is the most practical dress-down effect there ever was. Your feet will thank you for swapping your heels to a comfy sneaker (such as fashion crowd’s favorite Stan Smiths) or a cool loafer. There are also a lot of options with moderate heels. Try a pair of really great ankle boots for example. They make any outfit cool and effortless in a flash.
- Add knitwear. Add a chunky cable knit jumper for some texture and warmth. Understated merino wool jumpers go literally with everything. They are far more low maintenance than gorgeous cashmere that I would love if I didn’t have kids. Knitwear with a pop of color combined with tailored looks also very contemporary. Shop high-quality knitwear at Repeat Cashmere.
- Add denim. A high-low (= something very chic worn with something very casual) combo is a no-brainer that does apply for evening wear too. The contrast between something dressy and cool denim remains a classic styling trick favored by the best dressed everywhere. Easy, practical and stylish way to wear your tailored separates or dresses. Shop amazing denim at COS.
- Add leather. This is just like the tip above but dressier and a more powerful statement. My favorite is to throw a biker jacket on a feminine dress. You can also wear a leather jacket instead of a blazer. Shop the coolest leather jackets at All Saints.
- Add a T-shirt. T-shirts with a print or a slogan have been popular for quite some time now. They will make any tailored piece look casual and cool. Just check the appropriateness of the picture/text and that it doesn’t spell something else when worn with a jacket. A safe fail-proof alternative is a stripy or plain, yet well-cut, T-shirt. Shop the best basic T-shirts at COS.
Dress Things Down Without Having To Buy Too Much New
These 5 effortless ways to dressing down your outfits will help you get more out of your existing wardrobe. You don’t have to transform your style completely to look good. My style tips will also allow you to own less items while having more style -every single day. Learn to dress things down without having to buy too much new.
Is your problem actually the other way around? Then read my blog about How To Dress Things Up?
If you still feel that your formal clothes no longer have a future in your style then donate them to someone in need. One nice organization to consider is Dress for Success®. They sell pre-loved business clothes and workwear to women who can’t afford new clothes. They also offer career coaching and support. Their aim is to help women gain financial independency. I fully support this great cause! In The Netherlands you can approach Dress for Success NL.
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My services will help you to improve your personal image and style. They will help you to gain confidence and a clearer self-image. Your improved image will give you better opportunities in life.
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Share this article with a friend or a colleague who is looking to make their formal business style more contemporary. Let me know in comments how do you dress down your formal office wear. I am curious to hear your style secrets!
This blog post was originally published on 26th September 2018 and updated on 15th July 2022.
4 thoughts on “How to Dress Things Down?”
Thank you so much Simona and best of luck with your new role xx
These are brilliant tips, Jenni! Definitely needed some now that I am embarking in a new role (or better, looking for my next role!) and don’t want to overdo it!
Thank you for sharing your style secrets Lisa!
I don’t have that many smart work clothes any more as I’ve worked from home for nearly 12 years but you can’t beat a good leather jacket for taking formal to smart casual in a stylish nanosecond – great tips, Jenni! x