This week MPs have stated that the government must enforce a law to ban sexist dress rules at work that discriminate against women. Here at colour me beautiful, we are delighted to hear about this, surely to have a rule for one person, but not another because of their gender is both unfair and sexist?
What interests us as image consultants though, is how different people will ultimately interpret dress codes in different ways. It’s all down to our style personality you see; so whilst one woman may be horrified at the thought of having to wear 2-4 inch heels on a daily basis, another wouldn’t dream of stepping out in anything less. The key thing is that we should all have a choice as to what we wear in the workplace.
In our mind it is all about being dressed appropriately for the environment you’re working in; so you are well groomed and comfortable but still given the freedom to express your unique sense of style too. After all, its takes seven seconds to make a first impression, so for an employer the goal must be to have employees who are appropriately dressed and also comfortable in what they are wearing. An employee who feels comfortable and confident will certainly perform better in their role and represent their employer in the best possible light.
In a smart-casual office environment for example, a dramatic style personality would most certainly be donning her 4 inch heels on a daily basis, she simply couldn’t concentrate in flats (as a famous dramatic once said). These heels may also be in a vivid colour and you can be sure that her footwear will compliment her on-trend office outfit. Her natural style personality colleague on the other hand, will look at those glorious heels and cringe. They’re just not for her. Instead she slips on a comfortable pair of flats worn with trousers and fixes her hair in a simple, no-fuss style to ensure it doesn’t bother her throughout the day. Both are dressed appropriately for the work environment that they’re in, just in very different ways.
Next take our romantic style personality, she may opt for some elegant Chanel-inspired court shoes with a mid-height heel. Her office look will be more detailed, perhaps a floral printed blouse or some delicate jewellery to off-set her smart work look. A classic style personality will opt for a more understated, slightly traditional look – a jacket and dress, skirt or trousers, comfortable yet smart shoes. Her whole outfit will be co-ordinated beautifully in tonal colours and with very little make-up or jewellery.
Ultimately, what you wear at work should be appropriate for the industry you work in, and for your role within the organisation. The key to dress codes is flexibility. Trust your employees to dress in an appropriate way, to present a well-groomed, professional exterior in their workplace and allow them to show some of the personal qualities that make the world the diverse and colourful place that it is!
One of the biggest style dilemmas many of us will come across during the Summer will be dressing appropriately for work when the temperatures sore.
With the mercury rising once again in the UK this week, many of us will be wondering what is and isn’t appropriate for the office. With more and more workplaces adopting a smart/casual dress code it is important to dress for the weather whilst still looking professional.
Here are some of our top tips to help you navigate this style dilemma!
DO choose your fabrics wisely
Natural fabrics like cotton, will be more lightweight and crease less after a long day sitting down; meaning you’ll look more put together and well presented, even after a hard day of meetings and calls. If you are in a smart/casual environment you could opt for a shirt dress or linen trousers, which tend have a more relaxed cut and therefore are cooler to wear. Ensure that the material you choose isn’t too lightweight, as this can look too casual and reveal more than you may have intended.
DON’T show too much
It may be hot, but this doesn’t mean your hemline can be high. A skirt is a great choice for keeping cool in the heat and midi-length skirts are fabulously flattering on many body shapes (just be sure yours cuts at a flattering point on the leg). You’ll be able to move around with ease and look professional at the same time. If midi isn’t your thing just be sure not to go any higher than just above the knee.
There is a huge trend for off-the-shoulder tops and dresses at the moment, but keep this look for the weekend – it exposes too much flesh, even for a casual workplace. Similarly, leave your backless, asymmetric, spaghetti straps and batwings tops at home. Sleeveless is fine, but cover up by wearing trousers on your bottom half to balance the exposure of your arms (and keep a cardigan or jacket to hand for meetings).
DO dress up
A dress is a great option during the Summer. Choose a cut that is flattering for your body shape and it will help to keep you cool and comfortable on hot, sticky days. Opt for one of the lighter, brighter shades from your colour palette if you can, ensuring you balance the tone of shades you’re wearing, depending on your dominant colour category.
DON’T forget footwear
Leave your flip-flops and gladiator sandals at home! Thanks to Chanel, classic, ladylike sling-backs are making something of a comeback at the moment and these are an elegant option for the office during the Summer. Open toed shoes are fine in most workplaces now, but make sure your toes are immaculate if you decide to go down this route (a great excuse to book in for that pedicure!)
Most offices now have air-conditioning, meaning you may be going from sweltering heat to icy conditions at the touch of an elevator button. If this is the case you will need to cleverly layer your look to keep you warm. The danger here can be that you end up looking too casual (if you choose a loose-fitting cardigan for example). Invest in a lightweight jacket that is cut to suit your figure and, if needed, a lightweight scarf in your best colours. This will keep you warm but still looking smart and both are easy to remove once you leave the office to embrace the glorious sunshine!
Get some office chic inspiration over on our Pinterest board here.
Find your local colour me beautiful consultant here.
Here are my secret tips for summer holiday packing and looking cool by the pool
For most events in life a little planning can go a long way and that goes for your holiday packing too. The last thing you want as you anticipate your well-earned break is a stressful week of packing, then unpacking, then re-packing! Statistics show that it can take us at least five hours to decide what to take on holiday. So, before you even dig out your suitcase you need to draw up a basic list. Write a column for every day of your trip and for each day write down what you might be doing (sightseeing, sporting activity or just relaxing). In each column write roughly what you are likely to wear. This will quickly show you that you can wear the same pair of trousers or skirt, for example, at least twice and that you can pack lighter than you think. Think of your poor partner or hubby at the airport with all those cases!
Begin with the basics
Your basics are those items that you will wear more than once such as a pair of trousers, a skirt and a jacket. Use your list to pick out these basic pieces and lay them out on your bed. You may want most of these basics to be neutral or a mix of neutral and colours, depending on your preferences. When your selection is laid out on the bed you can work out different outfit combinations and therefore you will see which items will be the most versatile. Along with the basics you should have a couple of cotton tops for daytime and two that you can wear day or night which should be something a little more ‘special’, perhaps with a little extra detail, that you can dress up or down. You most definitely want a couple of dresses in two different, fabulous colours. Also, a maxi for the total look of style and comfort.
Capitalise on colour
Holidays are the perfect opportunity to really enjoy wearing colours as they always look more fabulous in sunnier weather and we’re not limited by work dress codes. Don’t feel you have to be ‘matchy, matchy’, clashing colours and patterns can look fabulous and are bang on trend!
Some great colour combinations this season are orange and pink or purple with green or turquoise. If clashing your clothes is a little too much for your taste just bring strong colours in to your accessories. A great pair of green shoes and matching handbag and a chunky orange bangle will set off a neutral outfit beautifully. White can be a super neutral against a tan, but check whether you suit a bright bluish white or a softer creamy white against your skin. To get your colours right it’s important to select the right ‘shade’ or ‘tone’ in each of your best colours so that they really complement your colouring.
The week beach holiday list
Don’t pack anything unless it goes with at least 3 other items!
Here is a basic packing guide to make your planning easier. Assuming laundry is not available you will need the following:
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of cropped or soft palazzo trousers
- 1 pair of shorts (neutral)
- 1 skirt (neutral)
- 2 dresses (2 different colours)
- 1 kaftan or maxi (colour-for beach or over trousers during the day)
- 2 daytime cotton tops/t-shirts (different colours)
- 2 smarter tops/t-shirts (different colours)
- 1 cotton strappy top (white or colour)
- 1 summer cardigan OR pashmina (either can be a neutral or a colour)
- 1 light summer jacket (neutral) 1 pair of flip flops (colour)
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes (e.g stylish trainers or ballet pumps in a good colour or a neutral)
- 1 pair of pretty sandals (neutral or a strong colour that matches or clashes well)
- 1 pair of heels (neutral or metallic or bold colour) 2 bathing suits/bikinis (in most flattering colours – lots of flesh on show for this one)
- 1 hat (good colour or neutral)
- 7 days of underwear 1 town/evening bag (matching/clashing well with colour shoes or neutral)
- 1 travel bag which can double up as a beach bag
Do consider travelling in your jeans, one of your smarter tops and your comfortable shoes to save more space.
Enjoy, and don’t forget – he will love you even more if you pack light.
Written by Shan Williams, Personal Stylist.
To ensure you are wearing your best colours why not contact one of our consultants for a colour consultation. Click here www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk/consultant/search/ and just pop in your postcode to find out who is nearest you and send them an email. We are a friendly and knowledgeable team!
Lots more to look at on www.pinterest.com/colourmebeautuk/holiday-wardrobe/
Images courtesy of Pinterest.
Some shoe facts –
- 39% of men think their partner has too many pairs of shoes
- 55% of men have had to carry their girlfriend because their feet hurt
- One in two women owns more than 30 pairs of shoes
- 8% of women own more than 100 pairs of shoes
- 75% of women own shoes that don’t fit very well
- 43% of women have worn 5-inch heels or higher
(Taken from a survey of 1,000 men and women conducted by Harpers Bazaar.)
Can you identify with any of the above results?
I know I can. Only recently my husband had to carry me from the car into a restaurant, as I had to walk down a steep hill to it and would have toppled off my heels! I felt like a heroine in a movie though – rather than a woman who couldn’t walk in her shoes – I may try it again sometime soon.
As far as numbers of pairs of shoes that I have – I am fairly modest, owning about 15 pairs at the last count and 6 pairs of boots.
So why do we have so many shoes (and bags)?
My theory is. Women love shoes for the same reasons they love bags. They don’t make you feel fat, you don’t have to get undressed to try them on, size is either non-issue or simply not related to your stomach, and they don’t necessarily suit Kate Moss any better than you. Agree?
As I have matured, I find wearing heels more of a challenge, we also have to think of practicality – is it me or are the pavements in our towns getting worse? So to my delight, I find that stylish flats are in. These flats are in all the styles, colours and textures you need to know about. From sleek velvet slippers and ballet pumps to boyish brogues – flats that every wardrobe wants.
I also love the fact that in all our cities now, ladies are walking to work in their trainers (sports luxe being very on trend) and then putting on their ‘power’ heels when they get to the office.
So we can now step out stylishly and actually ‘walk’ along the pavements without the threat of losing our pride. The joy!
Blog post written by Shan Williams, Personal Stylist and Director of Training for colour me beautiful
So if you are not quite sure what flats are right for you, your personality and your lifestyle why not visit one of our consultants who can advise you. As well as covering shoes, a style consultation will ensure you know how to dress for your body shape, height, scale and proportions. Click here www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk/consultant/search/ and just pop in your postcode to find out who is nearest you and send them an email or give them a call. Our consultants are a friendly bunch!
Please visit our Pinterest board for some great ideas on buying more shoes.