I have an entrepreneur friend, Arthur, who always wears a suit. I take the mick that I’ve never seen him in casual clothes and his response is: “The suit is the uniform of business.” But in my business, the uniform has often been ripped denim and glitter or computer programmer T-shirts. Either way, work attire can be flexible, as long as it’s appropriate. At WAH Nails, many of the team say that one of the perks is they don’t have to suppress their identity at work. But when we opened in a new location, I thought we needed a slick uniform to make the nail artists easily identifiable. In the team meeting showing potential branded T-shirts, one of the artists, Holli, said sheepishly: “But when I’m wearing a plain black logo T-shirt, I just don’t feel my ‘Stylebrat’ self.” (Stylebrat is her Instagram name.) She was right. We hired women with unique taste, so why was I trying to turn them into a homogenous worker army? We scrapped the shirts and everyone was relieved.
On the other hand, without a uniform or loose dress code, I personally struggle to keep the style bar high every day. I love going into offices where I see that the founder has a distinct style that has trickled down to the team. In the fashion industry especially, this appropriation of crew style shows harmonious and even cult-like thinking, which is essential for business success. Work attire can unite you in your goals. It also removes distraction.
I have no hesitation wearing the same (clean) outfit two days in a row. I’d say my look is Busy Working Style Mom, mixing sportswear with suiting. I have 10 black blazers that I pair with one of 20 blue Zara jeans. Sometimes you’re just there to get the job done, not to fuss over your appearance.