A modern woman’s guide to business wear
When it comes to dressing for the workplace, our male counterparts have it pretty easy: business professional means a suit and a tie, business casual means a dress shirt and a nice pair of trousers. For women, these distinctions aren’t quite so straightforward. When you’re constantly on the move meeting new colleagues, impressing clients and climbing the corporate ladder, it’s important to look the part. That’s why we spoke with Louise and Sarah, owners of luxury womenswear business fashion brand Cecily, to help us investigate how to make the best first impression in the workplace.
The biggest key to looking put-together in an office environment is to choose dresses, skirts, pants and tops that are well-fitted. Loose or baggy clothing suggests thoughtlessness and disorganisation, so opt for an understated sheath dress or tailored button down and pencil skirt. If you’re looking to elongate your neck, go for a shallow V-neck, which is both feminine and office appropriate.
When it comes to colour, texture and pattern, things get a little trickier. Generally, it’s always a safe bet to choose plain, block colours or subtle prints. Rich jewel tones like sapphires, emeralds, wines and plums are well suited for every season and are universally flattering for all skin tones. Of course, always have your not-too-little black dress to fall back on when all else fails. If you work in a more creative environment, you can even add colourful jewellery for some extra pizzazz!
Power pantsuits might work for the influential female politicians of the world, but when it comes to the modern workplace, you’re much better off avoiding boxy blazers and jackets that suggest you are stuck in the ‘80s. Not that blazers are out — just opt for a more relaxed fit (no shoulder pads, please!). That said, it’s still possible to look professional with softer lines. What’s not professional is distractingly low necklines or cheap, oversized jewellery. You might be just excited about work on Monday as you were about your night out on Friday, but remember that you don’t want to look like you’re about to a party.
Steer clear of big prints and busy patterns that might divert attention from what really matters — you and your work. Finally, be sure your clothing is crease and wrinkle free before heading out the door. A well put together outfit makes a great first impression in a meeting without taking eyes off your pitch or presentation. Play up your professional with both your clothing and your fantastic ideas in the workplace!