I am about to find myself back in a corporate, client facing role, which has set me off thinking about the mine field that is work wear. Having mostly been based from home for the past seven years, my own work wear wardrobe is in dire need of a revamp.
Specialising in recruitment and employability, I am more than aware that first impressions count. Much of the work I carry out is focused on helping people achieve their dream job, promotion or career aspiration. A part of that process involves preparing for interviews, as well as coaching people how to best present themselves, either to land a new role or win a new client.
Over the years my employability coaching has become less about how to sell core professional skills and more about how to interview and/or present oneself confidently. Yes, there are many tips and techniques for a successful interview, how best to tackle interview questions etc, but how you are dressed can also play a key part in your career.
Trying to pitch in at just the right level depending on the sort of work and culture you work in can be tricky. My own advice (which I have actually followed) is in the main, to stick to the classics with your clothing, then bring in more trend led accessories.
Gone are the days when I was in my twenties and thirties hitting city recruitment targets with unlimited funds to throw away on clothes and shoes (*sobs*)! My wardrobe now needs to mix in high street with designer, but it also needs to work harder for me.
I need to find items which I can mix and match, which will work for me outside of work, as well as out and about with clients. Separates are great as they can be paired professionally during work hours but can also be brought into more casual or evening outfits.
My go to shops for business wear will usually range from the higher end of the high street:- Reiss, Massimo Dutti, Whistles, down to the to lower priced end Zara, New Look, even the supermarket labels!
I'll let you into a secret that first little polka dot tea dress is from .. Peacocks!
Here's how I would mix and match those three key outfits for different occasion to maximise their cost per wear.
Peacocks Polka Dot Teadress
Weekend trip into town or out for girlie lunch by day - Dinner date for the evening :
With a £12.80 (!!) DRESS I will allow you to splurge on an imaginary YSL MONGRAMMED LEATHER CLUTCH FROM NET A PORTER, as well as the beautiful cream IRO HEDDI CLOQUE JACKET from the fabulous Luxe Layers online boutique. I've seen this dress 'in the flesh', as well as trying out those little tan fold away pumps and hold all from ... New Look £19.99 and £24.99 respectively and they all look a lot more expensive than they are.
Roll up a pair of white HUSH BOYFRIEND JEANS and mix up with the classic UNIQLO COTTON CASHMERE SWEATER and NEW LOOK ESPADRILLES for a stroll down to the beach. Team the NEXT LACE SKIRT with a pretty camisole top and break up the pretty pretty lace with more edgy snakeskin flats for a sun downer cocktail.
Finally that orange CREPE DETAIL DRESS FROM NEXT, the website picture does it no favors at all, I would go as far as to say it is stunning. In store it looks really expensive, with little cut out panel details on each shoulder, and a classic shift shape which will suit all. The verdict is out on the length though, depending on how tall you are! Dress it down with a pair of NEW BALANCE and RAW EDGE DENIM JACKET FROM ASOS or dress it up with a pair of TAN WEDGES, the New Look hold all and HUSH SPANISH DANCER scarf.
If I had to describe my husband's style it would be skater boy trapped in 40 (... something) year old man's body, meets mod :-)
Heavily influenced by the music of the 60's and early 70's (he DJ'-ed ... lives ... breathes... Northern soul, funk, jazz and hip-hop) Chris usually sticks to labels that are also of that 'genre':- Fred Perry, Paul smith, Howies, Cahartt, Barbour, Nudie Jeans etc.
Polistas Chinos - HOUSE OF FRASER Shirt - Joules SIMILAR TOMMY HILFIGER AT HOUSE OF FRASER, Suede Desert Boots - SIMILAR LINEA AT HOUSE OF FRASER
When I was approached to collaborate on a 'French Riviera' themed menswear post with HOUSE OF FRASER, the first thing I thought (apart from being a tad jealous) was that he would complain about having his photo taken and having to go on a diet, but that the idea of a French Riviera inspired shoot may just tip the boat in my favour. I tend to associate nautical stripes, red/white/blue, classic polo tops and chinos, deck shoes with the Mediterranean, as well as those classic black and white shots of the likes of Jacques Charrier and Brigitte Bardot in the late 50's/60's, which I know is something he loves.
This is a bloke who literally lives in jeans ... until they drop off him, so that did surprise me!
I know most blokes idea of shopping would be hell, Chris is actually my preferred shopping partner and he will patiently be dragged around town, shopping with me, but hates shopping for himself, so it is mostly done by me and online.
I reviewed and have literally been glued into a pair of Label Lab jeans from HOUSE OF FRASER all winter and I do spend time nosing at their website and it made a nice change to focus my attention on the men's collections for a change. Following Ella Catliffe on Insta earlier this year, I kept catching glimpses of her at London's Men's Fashion Week, as well as street style shots on Pinterest.
Hermes Resort Collection SS2015
Do you dare give the guys in your life free reign to dress themselves? Are they more slob than sartorial Chap? Which male celebs style do you admire?
This post is with thanks to House of Fraser and Alexandra for helping to co-ordinate! With some initial hesitation on his behalf, Chris loves his chinos and the opportunity to focus on his wardrobe instead of mine for a change.
I am expecting to be swept off to Monte Carlo now on holiday :-)