Despite being a (very) small business I try to do my bit for charity.
You might remember me mentioning at the end of last year how I had offered a FULL MAKEOVER to one lucky winner at the gala dinner raising money for Habitat For Humanity?
The gorgeous well deserving winner was Cassie, 33 who works full-time as a consultant and needed help developing her corporate clothing.
Business Attire For Women
Like most clients who work in a male dominated conservative business, office wear for women is predominately black, so Cassie wanted help with things like:
- What clothes suited her features & body type?
- How to introduce other colours in to her corporate clothing?
- How to dress her favorite black pencil skirts to freshen them up?
- What else qualifies as ‘corporate dress’?
- Help to generate more outfits from her current purchases
- To sharpen her personal branding
So for all of you who have ever asked yourself ‘WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO WORK?’ and feel you need a little business wear inspiration, read on…
Fashion Tip 1 – COLOUR CONSULTANT
Understanding what types of color suits you is THE most transformative thing you can learn about yourself!!!
Flattering colour is the foundation of dressing well.
As Cassie’s personal colour consultant in Sydney, it’s not about telling her that pink or green ‘is her colour’ but more about teaching Cassie the TYPE of pinks and greens that flatter her so she can shop smarter using her fantastic little color wallet containing the only colours she’ll ever need …including for hair & make-up!
Once you understand what types of colours suit you, you can feel confident in your choices and never have to make a fashion faux-pas again!
Colour Consultant Sydney
Because I’m a colour consultant in Sydney local to Cassie, I could conduct an in depth colour analysis, rather than offering her general online advice.
Cassie is a SOFT AUTUMN = medium level shades with soft muted finish, subtle warm golden undertones
Cassie has very soft, delicate features, therefore black really overwhelms her. In the workplace we don’t want to look overpowered, it’s the one environment we need to look on our game, fresh faced and ready for action!
You’ve probably heard me speak before on how black & white are actually quite harsh for most people from a colour analysis perspective (Not read my article for Mama Tribe? Click here to learn about ‘The Most Flattering Colours In The World), so it was vital I showed Cassie other hues that will compliment her AND her office wear.
DARKER COLOURS : UNFLATTERING – brings out a pink, almost blotchy skin tone
DARKER COLOURS : FLATTERING – richness evens out Cassie’s skin tone and stops her looking overwhelmed
COOL V WARM : UNFLATTERING – too much blue in the colour is too cool and dulls Cassie’s complexion, and hair
COOL V WARM : FLATTERING – the golden undertones enrich her skin and hair, and look at the sparkle in her eye!
And this one is really subtle…
GREENS : UNFLATTERING – although Cassie has a soft look, shades that are too soft and pale actually wash her out, you look straight at the green drape, not at her eyes
GREENS : FLATTERING – just a tone darker and her eyes are brighter and her skin tone is richer, although it’s subtle, she is much better balanced here
Some of Cassie’s patterns were too bold and also need softness to them so I showed her what this looked like so she could make better buying decisions that would mix & match better together, therefore extending her outfit choices.
Now, as you can see, Cassie has a FANTASTIC figure so we didn’t need to spend much time discussing body types because most clothes styles will flatter her, instead we spent the time talking through her personal style and what she felt most comfortable wearing.
I did however, share lots of style tips that I’ve learnt over my 18 years in the fashion industry on how to flatter different female body types.
Fashion Tip 2 – PERSONAL STYLE
Cassie enjoys wearing black pencils skirts to work,
- She looks amazing in them
- They outfit easily
- They’re an important part of her personal brand
However, she had her favorite 2 versions but as these started to wear out she started to shop for their replacements but couldn’t quite find the perfect fit…
How To Get The Perfect Fit
As a Sydney personal stylist I hate to break it to my clients but it’s unrealistic to expect everything on the high street to fit us perfectly, it’s just never going to happen (well, hopefully in the future it will but not inside the next 10 years) so for now we might need to occasionally use the services of a tailor.
FASHION TIPS: because each different high street brand uses a different fit model (the women they fit all their clothes to before they get put in to production) with a slightly different physique, certain brands will fit your body type better than other
Changing Buying Habits
When we had a look through Cassie’s wardrobe and delved right to the back of it, (you know, those hard to reach places you only visit when you’ve lost something), we realized she had actually purchased several of the same pencil shape style in her quest for the perfect fit.
If we don’t look in side our wardrobes, we forget what’s there. We all do it, even me!
As a fashion stylist, I have a saying:
‘shop inside your own wardrobe’
What happens when we don’t is that we tend to duplicate similar product because we’re creates of habit, we’re serial repeat purchasers and we like what we know!!
Fashion Tip 3 – WARDROBE MAKEOVER
I bang on a bit about how white clothes (or cream for most people) transform outfits – it gives you an instant wardrobe makeover!!
Cassie had this cream jacket in her closet that she had worn once for a wedding, and like most clients, hadn’t given it much thought since, until I showed up that is…
This humble cream jacket – which is a wardrobe stylist’s dream find btw = a flattering cut, versatile shape and fantastic purchase – gives Cassie’s work wear a complete make over!
It brightens her winter wardrobe for spring & summer whilst retaining a sharp, professional image. It works with ALL these tops AND her favorite pencil skirts AND dresses!
As Cassie’s wardrobe planner I would have requested she purchase a similar garment yet she already had it hanging in her closet! Have you got similar hanging in your wardrobes Sydney?!?
Jacket Style & Shape
Just because my client bought this jacket for a wedding, doesn’t mean she can’t cross-pollinate it to another lifestyle area.
Look, if this jacket has a shine to the fabric or a frill on it, it wouldn’t be appropriate for Cassie’s office, but because its sharp and slick, it’s amazing how ‘non-wedding-y’ (a word yet to be found in the English dictionary) it looks when you take it out of context and pair it back with corporate clothing!
It’s doubled her office Outfit Choices without spending a single dollar!!
Cassie’s cream jacket even works over her dresses!
Now, we have TRIPLED her outfit choices without spending a single dollar!!
Fashion Tip 4 – NON-SUIT-SUITS
I know that might sound a bit bazaar but trust me, it’s a ‘thing’.
I’ve designed non-suit-suits for years, ever since the demise of the corporate suit which loosened what qualified as ‘office appropriate attire’.
They’re stand alone jackets and skirt/pants that can be worn separately and together, but don’t match exactly like a conventional ‘suit’ does. They’re bloody brilliant! They’re less stuffy and corporate than traditional suiting and creates a much more flexible wardrobe.
Enter My Personal Styling Services!
Even if the pieces are not designed to be worn like this, my personal styling services means I can create them for you!
Cassie’s non-suit-suit version was from 2 different brands bought months apart but I outfitted them to look impactful when worn together and still feel corporate enough for her conservative environment. She had never considered pairing them together before but loves the look!
This has created a new ‘suit’ for Cassie she can effortlessly pair with different coloured tops underneath to wear through Autumn, Winter & Spring without spending a cent on more clothes!
See another example of a ‘non-suit-suit’ later in this article…
Fashion Tip 5 – PERSONAL SHOPPING MEANS SHOPPING WITH A FOCUS
Cassie hates shopping so my main objective during our personal shopper session was to make this experience positive and effortless to demonstrate how having a focus changes everything. I wanted to show Cassie:
- How to combine colour
- How to create outfits without any black
- What products would be versatile assets in her wardrobe
- How to avoid style duplication
How To Wear Colour
As a personal stylist, I totally understand most clients reliance on black and monochrome looks for their office wardrobe, but I wanted to show Cassie how to pair other shades together to create an equally professional image, and how those colours could be in tailored separates rather than just ‘a top’.
The majority of my image consultant clients want to wear different colours, but they don’t know what that looks like, until they’re shown. It’s very easy to imagine that wearing more colour will end up looking like a box of crayola!!!
So this is step one and then I would work with Cassie again a few months later to introduce more shades in to her evolving wardrobe. Some clients need small steps, others are ready to transform overnight!
By constantly wearing black, aside from the detrimental effects to our skin as discussed earlier, we tend to fade in to the background not getting noticed. Black can fade easily, be tricky to pair dresses/bottoms + jackets if the shade doesn’t match exactly and contrary to popular belief, black does show stains.
Business attire for women can be so much more exciting!!!! And in turn, you can elevate your personal branding, getting you noticed for the right reasons.
This is a smart, chic corporate clothing in two of Cassie’s very best shades, navy + raspberry.
These hues flatter her skin tone, don’t overpower her like black does and adds something completely new that can mix & match back with Cassie’s current wardrobe.
Pair with a navy or nude shoe and wear with and without the jacket.
This outfit is from Saba which is where Cassie shopped, but like so many of us, she would habitually head for the black corporate dress.
Cassie was shopping from the right brands but buying product that didn’t flatter her as much as they could
Fashion Tip 6 – OFFICE WEAR FOR WOMEN
Us females are fortunate we can wear such a range of clothing for the office so have you considered semi-tailored business wear?
This is a different type of ‘non-suit-suit’. It’s a fantastic semi-tailored outfit in a heavy knit that can be worn together to look like a dress, and split up and worn separately so you get triple the outfits….
or, 3 outfits for the price of one!!
And here’s a few ways I would outfit these separates to create 7 outfits in total from the above 2 ‘suits’ without any black, only using shades from Cassie’s most flattering palette!
Kim is extremely knowledgeable with an enthusiastic high energy approach. She provided great outfit co-ordination and accessorizing options from my existing wardrobe.
Despite my strong dislike of shopping, Kim made it a fun and productive experience that was individually tailored.
I would DEFINITELY recommend Kim!!