The office environment is not always about the dark jacket of authority. Occasionally I find I need to display an aura of 'I'm listening but I also know what I'm talking about.' Or 'I've heard you but the answer is still no.'
If I know I'm going to have such a day then dressing requires a bit of freeing up from the hardline black jacket. On such days I might swap a collared shirt for a blouse and the jacket for a cardigan.
One such adaption I used recently was to keep the authoritative black but in a soft styled skirt and a blouse. The observant of you will notice that this is a mix of chocolate and black. I saw an external mediator who visited our office in December wear dark brown and black (a black dress and chocolate cardigan.) I wasn't quite sure about whether it worked as a combination as the tones of the two were so similar, but, not to be deterred, I kept in mind to try it one day. Here is my adaption of the of the colour combination. I think this works as the blouse is designed with a chocolate and black mix and off-white to add the contrast. I used the off-white as the theme of my cardigan to pull the colours together.
I find it interesting that when I was looking for an outfit that fit my purposes I chose the colours that I last saw a mediator wearing. A psychologist will have a field day with that one.
This skirt added a soft swish to help the friendly vibe I was going for. It's about 8 years old but still is adding value to my work life. The blouse was thrifted and shhh, so was the M&S collections cardigan. Just keep that between us. (I have a philosophy, I don't want to spend a fortune on functional and I see dressing for the office as functional.)
How would you combine black and chocolate? Would you combine them? What are your tips for dressing to be approachable?