An advocate in a leading law firm in Nairobi is still expected to dress conservatively and so is a trusted banker. Someone in the creatives like an artist or musician can be as as creative as they wish to be and hence show their creativity in dress sense.
For those in conservative industries, one can still add pomp an colour into their ensemble with ties, blouses, scarves, handbags, necklaces, earrings, shoes or other accessories to create their own personal style.
Always err on the side of conservative even when in company functions like parties where one may be tempted to come up in outlandish outfits unless it is a themed party off course.
Clothes should always be well fitting, neither too tight nor too loose. Ladies showing off your cleavage, donning very short skirts and tight fitting skirts or trousers are a no, no for a well cut typical professional image. Business casual does not mean weekend wear and jeans are still not advised in the workplace unless it is ‘Jeans Friday’.
Though it is generally advised that accessories be conservative in the work set up, in this day and age chunky jewellery, embellished, colourful shoes and handbags are allowed (for women), however they should be done in a balanced way to avoid looking gaudy or like a walking Christmas tree with several decorations. Scubbed shoes are a no no in a professional set up.
A man in a well cut out suit, fitting blazer and nice trousers will always cut a professional image. Men’s focus on accessories is in their shoes, belts, ties. Their socks for example should be long enough to have no skin peeping and should be in the same colour or as close as possible to that of the suit or trouser they are wearing which should be neutral navies, blacks, dark browns or khakis for the business casual look.
Invest in a good professional looking watch as many a time this is the only adornment that one may require in a professional set up and could say millions about someone.
A good work wardrobe is built over time so one should never feel rushed to change ones whole wardrobe overnight as this may prove to be stressful or unnecessarily expensive.
One should never forget ones grooming; hair should always be neat, nails should be cut or well manicured. Ladies it is either well done nail polish or no nail polish at all… so let us all say goodbye to chipped nail polish. Smell is very important. Negative body odour is a no, no. We should invest in a mild to moderate scent that goes well with our natural scent.
On a personal note, this has been quite enlightening as we are advised to always dress a level higher that which we aspire for in the work place.
All the best in all of my readers’ professional endeavours. Let us all put our best professional dress sense foot forward so to speak!
© Kwambie Nyambane,
The writer of this article has developed a keen interest in fashion, image and presentation issues over time.