We’re all aware that these are tough old times and this autumn is going to see many people changing their jobs and the way that they work. I thought I would therefore give you some of the hints and tips that I have learned over the years about dressing for success. By the way, my recommendations apply equally to interviews, major meetings, pitches and presentations.
There is no doubt that if you adopt an old-fashioned look, your interviewers, bosses, clients and colleagues will assume that you think in old fashioned ways too. If you want to emphasise new and fresh concepts, your dress has to reflect that.
I suggest that you will also want to stand out. And one way to do this is not look like everyone else. I recommend that, for an important appointment, you opt for either a dress or a dress and jacket. My third choice would be a skirt, jacket and top but, especially if it is for a job interview, avoid trousers or a shirt and blouse without a jacket. Steer clear of black and brown, and opt instead for blue or greys. Pinstripes or fleck fabrics are fine, but probably not a check.
For tops, select a crew neck or scoop neck rather than the more boring V-neck. Wolford may be expensive but has the very best range. They are worth every penny because you can wash them again and again and they never lose shape. However, if pushed, you can find cheaper versions at Uniglow or Zara.
Accessorise carefully. Go for a modern pair of shoes with a slightly rounded toe and kitten heels rather than a court with a wedge or blocked heel, and wear a 20 denier tight in a colour that compliments your outfit. Keep your jewellery simple but discreet.
Another on trend option if you will wear a slim or skinny trouser, denim, legging or even a straight skirt is an oversized 80’s inspired hip line jacket or chunky cable knit cardigan widely available at every price-point.
Men should adopt the same criteria of keeping up-to-date. This means a slimmer cut of suit, which is where fashion is right now. And do ensure that your shirt is not just new but also well fitted.
Coat collars can be an issue for women with a good frontage. Look for single rather than double-breasted, either zipped or buttoned, and choose a large lapel; though not overpowering, and some shape below the bust-line.
Anthropologie has been around for more than a year in the UK now and has some delightful offerings that won’t break the bank. I like the Tyndall coat in beige flecked tweed, with a removable flush collar in faux fur - elegant details and, bracelet-length sleeves. It’s just £198. I always think that a three-quarter sleeve is always flattering, allowing you to wear longer gloves or showing a longer sleeved jumper. Anthropologie also has a French bustle jacket at £158, in a soft black boucle with a ruffled neckline - charming.
Cape coats are big news. Try Zara or, my favourite, a wool cape from Diana von Furstenberg in a wonderful shade of olive. It’s a great classic piece, with a slight military feel and at £365, perfect for wearing with narrow shirts or slim trousers.
As I have been keen of khaki and camel for this autumn...I can report that Ferragamo’s spring/summer 2011 show displayed many neutral tones of camel, khaki and burnt tones of orange, which signals a continuation of muted tones that are all around the shops at present and I must say are refreshing options to black and brown. The Ferragamo collection featured smocked dress, masculine suiting and safari-style jackets. The real uplift was evening wear which was a riot of colour including an electric blue organza gown that closed the show.
Lastly, my thoughts on lipsticks versus gloss. I’m greatly in favour of coloured glosses, which I think makes women look younger. They are an easy way to take ten years off your life but do ensure that they are not iridescent. My choices would be from Chanel, Nars or Laura Mercier. Of course, they have impact rather than longevity. Slick them on just before you go into the big meeting or for a meal. If you want to make them last longer, use a matching pencil right across your mouth first, use your finger to blot so there are no hard lines, then gloss. And remember, if you have a large mouth, you can use a lighter colour. For a smaller mouth, avoid dark tones and go for brighter instead.