In the past, I spent most of my mornings trying to mix and match my clothes so I don’t “blend in” with the corporate crowd. I wanted to express my personal style without breaking any HR rules, so colours and prints were things I look out for in my daily outfits.
With dress code freedom (which I’m currently experiencing), it becomes easy to get lazy or carried away – sometimes, I question if a crop top with culottes would be deemed “overboard” for a casual meeting. Sometimes, I feel overly proper in a turtleneck knee length dress. Being in the creative line again gives me the opportunity to redefine my interpretation of casual, smart casual and formal attire, while staying true to my style.
To some, smart casual means coming to work in sweatpants and t-shirt. That to me, is not appropriate. In some professional working spaces, a smart casual dress code allows you to switch from shirt to collared t-shirt and slacks to khaki pants.
For others, it means you can do without wearing a tie on a Friday, which doesn’t make much of a difference if you ask me. I tend to play safe with the smart casual dress code because you never know when you need to run off for an emergency meeting. That has happened to me a few times.
In a way, I do miss the boundaries set by the HR department because the rebel in me would always try to stand out in the best way I can. I used to challenge the hemline allowance when I first joined the corporate workforce, but I realised the restrictive guidelines implemented has actually helped with my dressing up abilities.
These days, dressing up in the morning is now less of “would my HR lady flip if she sees me” and more of “how can this outfit bring out the best in me”. And given the nature of my job, slacking is not an option either so “casual” for me needs to still look put together and I’m loving the challenge so far! :)