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How to Stand Out in Your Office Uniform

Why blend in when you can outshine them all?
How to Stand Out in Your Office Uniform
ILLUSTRATOR Gab Gutierrez
Why blend in when you can outshine them all?

As a city girl strips away her toga and struts in style to the so-called real world, it is inevitable for her to encounter some semblance of uniformity in the work place–whether in the form of an office-issued uniform or an actual prescribed look. But of course, this is no reason for an achiever urbanista to compromise her individuality and look like a corporate drone. Here are foolproof ways to let one’s personality shine without setting off human resources’ alarm bells:

EASY: Step Up in Smart Heels

It is quite rare for an office-issued uniform to include shoes; rather, employee manuals will only describe acceptable footwear in the office. In this case, there is latitude for the smart fashionista to celebrate her style without breaking the rules. Closed shoes come in all shapes and sizes, but the fiercest bet is hands down a pair of pointy black court shoes. Close runners-up are luxurious navy blue slingbacks, universally flattering pointy nude pumps and vivacious almond toe wine heels. Those not of faint hearts may venture into total contrast with strong colors like cobalt blue, canary yellow, and ruby red. The bottom line of this whole exercise is to stay polished and smart while playing around with cuts and colors.

IMAGE Zara

Zara Leather Slingback High Heel Shoes, P2595, Rockwell Powerplant Mall

#ImAPreviewGirl Tip: Steer very far away from logos and other badges of branding. While these may be a testament to one’s purchasing power, they do not necessarily communicate style. The idea is to show character in a sea of uniformity–not stick out like a sore thumb.

MODERATE: Bring on the Baubles

For the romantic stylista, delicate bracelets with subtle Pandora charms bring to life an otherwise ho-hum uniform. Meanwhile, the go-getter diva can run to Merriam Batara for one-of-a-kind statement necklaces to add an unexpected luxury to a boring outfit. For the minimalist boss lady, an oversized watch with mesh strap from Cluse or set in buttery leather like those from The Horse is indispensable, while the athletic trendsetter can don stud earrings in different elegant shades, thanks to Kate Spade and Anne Klein.

IMAGE Pandora

Pandora Moments Always in My Heart Silver Bangle, P5780, Greenbelt 5

#ImAPreviewGirl Tip: To keep one’s look sharp, maintain one focal point instead of forcing several conversation items into one outfit. There are at least five work days in one week–lots of opportunities to get those accessories to work so no need to cram all of them in one day.

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HARD: Bag It Up

While it is perfectly acceptable (if not altogether expected) to drool over the beautiful black leather Petra Market bag from Everlane or the versatile tan Mulberry Bayswater bag, current commerce allows a smart city girl to play around with high street and high fashion in one breath. Indeed, bags are (relatively) affordable luxuries to complete an outfit or even bring it to the next level. And there is no reason to stop at the everyday handbag. Why not bring a cute little Longchamp tote to lunch or a slim Rabeanco clutch to inter-office meetings instead of donning the mothership of a handbag every step of the way?

IMAGE heyjow.com

Heyjow Souk Series Asilah Bag Charm 7, P980, heyjow.com

#ImAPreviewGirl Tip: Adding a scarf, a bag charm or a twilly wrap to one’s bag gives it new life and takes one out of a bag rut. The onslaught of fast fashion makes scarves readily available in an otherwise very tropical country, while Heyjow makes beautiful and unique bag charms. Also, Love My Bags finally opened a physical store at the Podium in Ortigas, making it easy for one to hoard handle wraps in a blink of an eye.

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