Polished professional look

Eve Woman

By Wambui Thimba

Your goal to getting dressed for work is to project a professional and competent image regardless of your employment level or career path.

The styles, colours, lengths and fit of your fashion choices will speak volumes about your ability to do your job. If you are concerned about your career, you will be more concerned with looking professional rather than looking cute or trendy.

A tweed suit will keep you warm in the cold season

The more distracting a piece of clothing or jewellery is, the less appropriate it is for office wear.

Tips to looking polished

Colour plays a big part in professional image. Traditional career colours include red (aggressive), navy (trustworthy), grey (conservative) and black (chic). Most of these colours work well in pant-suits, skirts and shoes. Mix back with softer feminine appropriate colours like ice blue, lilac, soft pink and ivory. Loud colours like hot pink and wild prints are riskier in the office, but some creative types can still pull them off.

Jewellery that jangles (chandelier earrings, stacks of bangles) is distracting. Opt for stud earrings or single bracelets.

Slouchy handbags look sloppy. Choose structured styles that project an organised image.

Most of what constitutes a polished image is in the detail: manicured nails, run-free hose, scuff-free shoes and neat hair.

Fit is everything when you are talking about tailored work clothes. Pants should be fitted but free of visible panty lines. Skirts, especially straight styles like pencil skirts, should be loose enough to sit down in comfortably. You should be able to button your jackets and blouses without showing gap between button-holes.

Designer labels are great, but heavily ‘logoed’ clothing and accessories look cluttered in the work place. A small designer bag is fine; a logo trench coat looks ridiculous. Choose well-made items free from obvious designer labels for the most professional look.