Smart Workwear Update

I’ve just been reading a fascinating report done by business womenswear brand The Fold into why workwear matters. They interviewed 1300 business women to dig deeper into what they actually want to wear to work in a business environment. Almost 28% of board positions in FTSE 100 companies are now occupied by women, up from 12.5% in 2011 according to the latest Hampton-Alexander Review. The women in these positions want a top quality wardrobe that shows they mean business.

Fact - The way you dress can influence your career.

Of the women interviewed for The Fold’s report, 98% of businesswomen believe their personal dressing style helps them achieve certain objectives at work, and nearly 80% say the right outfit is crucial to creating a knock-out first impression in meetings and boosting credibility – especially in environments where women are in the minority.

In addition to this, 74% of businesswomen admit they assess an individual’s ‘executive presence’ based on their outfit. I’ve mentioned this point many times in my blog, rightly or wrongly we immediately judge others based on their appearance and if they look sloppy then it can make you think their work is sloppy.

Show up and Dress Up.

Workwear really matters because it affects your confidence at work and your performance. It’s about coming in with your A Game and dressing with intent to show you are serious about your job. One of the easiest things you can possibly wear is a smart dress. At the moment (spring ‘19) I wouldn’t recommend a fitted body con dress because they feel a little dated and can look too structured and make you unapproachable. ‘Soft Power Dressing’ feels more now. The Fold does stylish smart workwear brilliantly and if you work in a more corporate environment, perhaps as a lawyer or a banker then their Camelot dress in navy would be a good failsafe option. I like the detail on the waist that takes this dress from boring to stylish and interesting.

You could easily tumble out of bed with a whole schedule of meetings ahead of you, put this on and feel ready to take on the day.


Get Shirty.

Another great option for dressing in a more senior way is a shirt dress. Traditionally shirt dresses come with collars so are more business-like. This one however, by Ellery at Net-a-Porter is a fashion-forward take on the shirt dress and very business appropriate. I would maybe belt this with a black belt, wear with nude suede courts and a smart tailored, cropped black cardigan if you’re chilly.

If you prefer a more traditional look to your shirt dress then I suggest Massimo Dutti. They are really good at classic, understated style and as well as a great selection of dresses have great relaxed blazers! I’ll do another post about those…

Finally I really want to mention Reiss because their last two collections have been excellent. I did feel for a while that they were a bit young and sometimes veered into footballers wives territory! It’s true, they still do a lot of body-con dresses and they are a young brand but they do the best smart work tops on the high street and these days overall they are really nailing smart, polished workwear. A special mention goes to their gorgeous pleated skirts. A pleated skirt with a blouse is another great workwear combo finished off with a blazer so I will include those in my next blog but you can check them out here.

Add a splash of colour to your wardrobe with this red cap sleeve midi dress. Love the shape of this, would be flattering on lots of body shapes.

Lisa Gillbe is a personal stylist based in London. If you want help this season pulling together your spring/summer wardrobe get in touch here.