In career and business, image matters

1. Invest in classic pieces

For ladies, this would be a basic black skirt, a black pair of trousers and a black dress. These can take you from a board meeting to an evening cocktail meet.

For gentlemen, classic pieces would be fitted suits. Have them in the basic colours –black, navy blue and grey. Also have basic shirts in white, pastel blue and pink.

2. Get the basics right

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If you have that one black skirt, you can have five different separate shirts, tops or blouses that you can mix and match with. My bottoms (trousers and skirts) are mainly neutral colours. I have a pair of black and white pants and those can go with white, blue, red or black tops.

Also, have at least three good handbags. A good bag is one that is neither too big nor too small. Invest in a sturdy, medium-sized bag that can fit in all your basic essentials.

3. Up your shoe game

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Men would do well to ensure that they own at least one pair of classic Oxford shoes. They will give you that favourable impression that you want to make. Then ensure that your belt matches your shoes.

For ladies, heeled shoes play a huge part in your image. They give you more confidence, poise and your body posture is infinitely better. Go for at least three or more inches high. If I have a presentation to make, you will always find me in a pair of very high heels.

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If you must wear flats, formal flats do exist. Invest in a good, sensible pair. Avoid flats with prints, flowers or in screaming pink in a formal environment.

4. Tame the hair

Hair styling is an individual choice, but in a formal environment, the key thing is that it should be away from the eyes. Do not cover your face. Also avoid crazy coloured hair additions.

If sporting natural hair, ensure that it is clean, well styled and treated every two weeks. For relaxed hair, get it conditioned and ensure that your roots are retouched.

5. Project confidence

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If I have a presentation to make, I wear power colours; bright solid colours. So mostly I will go in a red dress because red signifies power and gives me energy.

Also, be conscious of how you sit. Do not slump in your chair. Stand tall, walk tall and do not drag your heels.

When talking to someone, look them straight in the eye.

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