Dress à la mode: Fashion shouldn’t die at the workplace

Mimi Raad
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In a media environment, one expects to meet various kinds of people. I have been working in TV in various Arab countries for years. I have been part of different teams, and met professional and creative people, but few have been fashion-savvy. I would totally understand if the media environment was strict, like banking, where a rigid dress code is imposed. But this is TV!

Every morning, I scrutinize the crowd around me, and all I see is what I might see in any other workplace: classic, trivial, boring outfits. Style is an extension of our personality. Personality is a mix of upbringing, peer influence, education, social baggage and experiences. Logically, then, style should follow, but in 99 percent of cases it does not.


People tend to copy each other, stay on the safe side, and adopt a plain look regardless of their social and professional backgrounds. It is depressing. I meet wonderful people who wear dreadful outfits and cannot mix and match. Style is such a personal matter. It can be acquired if you open up.

The comfort zone

A new you at work: Big Shoulders. (Image provided)
A new you at work: Big Shoulders. (Image provided)

Once you know what suits you, you are aware of your body shape, you know the tricks to enhance assets and hide flaws, and you can start tackling serious styling. This is when the fun starts. Unleash your personal style. Let the way you dress project how you want others to perceive you.

The comfort zone that we all use as a refuge to avoid change is so rooted in our inner system that it keeps us in a vicious sartorial circle, repeating endlessly the same cuts, colors and style. Rare are the people open to change.

A new you at work: The Masculine Look. (Image provided)
A new you at work: The Masculine Look. (Image provided)

I guess the process of change is much more complicated than what shows on the surface. It is not just a color, it is the way we see our reflection and image, and this relates directly to our personality and history. Who would want to shake that? Being stylish does not mean becoming a fashionista or overdressed. My advice is to be detached from the fashion diktats, and wear what suits your body and personality.

That does not mean ignoring fashion trends totally, but get inspired from that and pick what reflects who you are. Another tip: look around you, look for influences in magazines or icons, or even people on the street. You might get ideas to mix and match your clothes in a certain way, or emulate a celebrity’s style. It is not about dressing up, but getting inspired to finally find your own style, and blossom and glow.

Get ‘em while they’re hot!

A new you at work: The Leather Look. (Image provided)
A new you at work: The Leather Look. (Image provided)

Let us not wait any longer. Get inspired by autumn / fall 2014 trends:

You might like to adopt a ladylike style, wearing a pencil skirt or a flouncing one, well cut dresses with a defined waist and knee length. Imagine 1940s icons Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Veronica Lake and Katherine Hepburn.

In winter, you can steal your brother’s or husband’s suit. Why not? If it appeals to you, adopt a manly style, wearing cropped trousers or wide-legged ones, with tailored jackets and an ultra-striped suit inspired by the mafia or the Great Gatsby era.

Remember the grunge style, the non-conformist vibe of the 1980s? It is back! This season, take a hint of punk, add a little rock, mix in some heavy metal, and you will achieve the grungy look. Studded leather, mesh stockings and plaid shirts are its key pieces, but with an added couture feel. If you are like me and relate to 1980s and 1990s style, adopt it happily and stylishly.

A new you at work: Dress Up with Tweed. (Image provided)
A new you at work: Dress Up with Tweed. (Image provided)

Oversized coats and jackets are big. Personally, I would not go there… unless you are 1m75!

Key colors to adopt: navy, pink (especially for coats), red, ecru and burgundy. Find the right shades that compliment your skin, hair, eye and teeth colors.

Try integrating items into your outfits with the following textures: leather, tweed, fur, lace and - yes - feather. Usually a couture embellishment, ostrich feather appeared for fall / winter 2013-2014 in a ready-to-wear version.

As for the prints, look for tartan, camouflage and leopard. No need to go overboard with them - a small touch will do for beginners. Camouflage is inspired by the army’s rigor, and the silhouettes are strict. From red checks to green, blue and black plaid, this season everything from the traditional to the modern appeared printed with Scottish tartan. Leopard print can be tricky - combine it with unusual colors, such as grey and cobalt blue, to avoid a cheap look.

Having said all that, now it is up to you!

(Images courtesy: Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Net-a-Porter)

Mimi Raad is currently the Image Consultant for Al Arabiya News channel, part of MBC group as well as all the other MBC channels. Not only does she guides the anchors to polish their image, but trains as well a team of makeup artists, hairdressers and stylists to cater for their needs and television requirements. Mimi has trained number of major companies’ employees, helping them to finalize a suitable dress code as well as styled many celebrities in the Arab world. She took part in various shows as an Image Consultant and has a weekly fashion segment on Al Arabiya morning show. She’s a blogger and writes features for various media supports. As the founder of the Image department and executive producer at Dubai Media Inc for the past six years, Mimi Raad has played a primary role in the re-launch of DMI’s four channels. Mimi created an innovative department in television environment, where along with a specialized team, trained by her, all DMI’s presenters are relooked and revamped before going on air. Mimi’s responsibilities include conceptualizing every channel’s presenters styles. Meanwhile, Mimi was also producing for the past five years, and still, a very successful soft makeover show, Anti Ajmal.

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