22 October 2010
There’s nothing worse than seeing a mum who has let her sense of style go down the drain.
Frumpy fraying cardigans, faded jeans that are a few decades out of style and frizzy, dry and unloved hair. Oh and make-up…what make-up – the dry, pasty look just doesn’t work, neither does dry, chapped lips…or chipped fingernails.
It’s bad enough when that’s the everyday look, or how you dress to do the grocery shopping, but if you go to work looking like this, it doesn’t speak well of you at all!
And if that’s how you’ve been existing during your maternity leave and are getting ready to return to work, don’t step foot in your workplace before you have finished this article.
And don’t use money as an excuse – we all pay childcare costs, mortgages and other bills, but with the Primarks of this world, you can pull a decent look together for less than the cost of the money you spend buying Starbucks and sandwiches a month.
If you are stuck in a dark hole where your work wardrobe is concerned, fear not. Award-winning personal and corporate style consultant Lisa Talbot is sharing some tips for working mums – and it’s FREE! Now you have no excuse not to dress fabulously for work!
The job you do will determine on what you wear to work. Do you need to be formal for work? Are you customer facing? Is the style of your place of work business casual?
For your wardrobe to work for you it needs to be balanced between home and work. For example a full-time working mum‘s wardrobe will be five days working , two days smart casual. That way you will get more from your wardrobe and it will be fast and simple to get yourself and family ready in the morning.
Our image is our personal branding at all times, but most definitely in a work environment what we wear and our grooming portrays us as a person and delivers the message of how we will do our job.
Did you know that a sales deal can be won or lost based on how the buyer sees you? If you appear scruffy the buyer is less likely to believe in the product you are selling. We are a fickle nation!
If you hold a position of authority your image needs to portray authority, wearing a smart jacket/blazer will set off any outfit. Leading by example will also help you gain respect from your employees â€“ and they are more likely to follow your example.
If it doesn’t come naturally, train yourself
Style does not always come easy to all of us but style can be learnt and it is a very exciting journey finding out what is our true style personality, the colours that suit us and the clothes that enhance our body shape. But while learning errors can be made, here are my recommendations of style errors to avoid:
- Do not stop your sleeve lengths on the widest part of your arm as this will make your arms look bigger.
- Do not stop your tops/shirts/jackets on the widest part of your legs (this is usually just below the hip line if you have a curved body shape ) as this will give the illusion of width.
- If you do not want to accentuate your bust then steer clear of pockets on a jacket.
- Double-breasted suit jackets or blazers only work well on a small frame, as they add width to the body line. If you want to look slimmer, then a single-breasted jacket is far better.
- Steer clear of turn ups on your tailored trousers if you are shorter in the leg than your body as they will give the illusion of a shorter leg.
The British high street is the most amazing place whether you like to buy branded or non-branded clothes, and these days workwear can be found in most good highstreet stores at reasonable prices.
How to look stylish and professional
It is important to have a range of outfits that have more than one purpose. You can do the school run, go to a business meeting, collect your little one from nursery and still look fabulous when your husband or partner walks in the door.
Here are some basics you should have in your wardrobe:
- Smart tailored trousers
- White shirt and coloured shirts ( pin stripe, check etc )
- Skirt to suit your body shape (ie pencil or A-line
- Smart/casual dress â€“ H & M have a fab military dress and Phase 8 have a super one. These are great for work but fab for a casual look too
- Boyfriend blazer, smart tailored blazer- Super for work, bang on trend too
- Accessories ie shoes, jewellery, belts, handbags â€“ these just add the finishing touch to any outfit
This whole look can be mixed around and can look great for all situations – a normal day in the office, when meeting customers or at an offsite meeting.
Lisa Talbot is personal and corporate style consultant. Find out more about her services at www.lisatalbot.co.uk.