Take the Stress out of the Way You Dress

There is nothing more stressful than not being comfortable in what you are wearing, either because you feel out of place in your choice of outfit  or because the style and fit are unflattering. In this month’s article, I offer some timeless tips to help you feel at ease and confident in your clothes, especially at work. I am excited to be expanding on most of these at the Women in Leadership Summit on 26th June 2015 run by Sandra Green, a fantastic Women’s  Career Coach.Take a look at her website for inspiration and more information on this fabulous  event for any woman who wants to learn more about how she can get ahead in the workplace. I believe she still has a handful of places- hurry, it’s going to be a  fabulous event,

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1.Understand the styles that suit your body shape. At the Success Summit I will be showing you the basics of what works and what doesn’t for the basic body shapes that most women fall into : straight, hourglass, top heavy, apple and pear. Once you know the basic rules, you’ll always look great whatever your shape or size.
2. Work on achieving a capsule wardrobe. This is where you have enough outfits that will mix and match together to complement  each other perfectly, adding the right accessories to provide the finishing touches to your look. Earrings for example, will help finish  off your look in the same way cuff links do for men.
3. Know your best colours and appreciate the impact different colours and styles can make to suit the situation. For example, darker colours in plain fabrics with good tailoring carry more authority in business situations than floral prints and floaty or shiny fabrics.
4. Don’t fall into the trap of following fashion at the expense of knowing what suits you. Plan to invest in quality items. It’s not always the way we like to shop, I know, but wearing fewer well chosen and well put together quality outfits creates a more professional impression than showing up at work in an endless supply of ever changing cheap and cheerful fashion statements. Save the fun and fashion shopping for after 6pm  and the weekends!
5. Make sure your key investment pieces really work for you. A well tailored, expensive pair of black trousers, for example can be worn repeatedly to create a variety of different looks, depending on the occasion. If you are giving  a formal presentation or have an important meeting, team them with a tailored jacket to give you a feeling of authority. Alternatively, pair them  with a quality cardigan in an uplifting colour that suits you for a more  approachable look. For even more mileage, wear after work with stilettos, evening jewellery and perhaps a silky top for a day into evening transition.
6. Ensure your work look is not ruined with mistakes that can cause embarrassment to you or others such as VPL, hem lines that show too much when you sit down and tight fitting, plunging necklines. Also, button up your jacket when making presentations in order not to allow your bust to distract from your message. (Men would do well to do the same if stomach bulge is an issue! ) Ensure blouses are not see through and when selecting white tops and shirts, look for white fabrics that are not too sheer: a self pattern on the fabric will often work around this problem. Wear a flesh coloured bra with white and light coloured tops to hide underwear visibility.
7. Remember, your message and your ability to do the job are key and your look needs to be professional and matched to your work setting. Even in casual settings such as Google, an untidy and poorly groomed image will do you no favours.
8. On dress down Fridays or when smart- casual is required, still pay attention to the importance of grooming and work appropriate dressing. Don’t dress as though you are going on a hot date. Remember, the more flesh you show, the more authority you lose!

When you feel comfortable and look good, you will feel less stressed and project an air of confidence that will draw a positive reaction from work associates and clients. People will pay more attention to you when you look good. Although we may not like this, it’s a proven fact. However good you look though, ultimately it’s  your talents, personalty and ability to do the job that really matter, so make sure your image is in line with the confident, capable person you already are or are working so hard to become!


  1. Great blog Catherine x

  2. Yet another very helpful and constructive post.

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