Dress like you mean Business: Part 1

Delighted to be doing a series of articles on work related style, Below is the first in the series of articles published through recruitireland.com

Face of beautiful woman on the background of business people

Pay attention to what you wear to work, because someone else is.

It came as a revelation to me to be honest, that 80% of my clients put little or no thought into their work-wear. On many a wardrobe detox mission I carried out what became apparent was the sheer thoughtless, unimaginative and downright lazy approach to work attire.

Some of the comments I met with were,

“Oh don’t mind that I wear that to work”

“I have this for years, but it does for work”

“I’ve stopped wearing these going out but I wear them to work”

If any of these comments are familiar and I suspect they are then let this be your wakeup call people, you need to dress like you mean business.

If it’s not good enough, if it’s worn to shreds and if it’s been made redundant from daily life then why would you even contemplate wearing it into work?

7 seconds is what we have to make an impression. What you wear will be the package of what you are trying to present. Don’t sell yourself short!


Here are my top tips


Research the industry you are working in and who your target audience is.

You may have a creative job which has a less formal approach or there are instances where suits are a must and meetings call for a more serious approach to style. You must at all times know the workplace dress -culture. This may be available through the HR department, or by simply taking a look around you.

What position do you have within the company? That age old saying “dress for the job you want not the job you are in” If you are looking to move up the ladder then there is no harm in making an extra effort to stand out.

Are you likely to be working on your own, as part of a team? Are you going to be presenting meetings internally or externally? It’s important to look professional at all times and especially if you are representing your company externally.

You do not want to alienate your colleagues simply due to the choice of work-wear. Your clothes talk even if you remain silent what do your clothes say about you?

 male 2

 Identify your personal style and adapt it to the workplace.

Anna Wintour said it best “create your own style, let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”

You might love polka dots but unless you work in a creative role where it’s expected you show some form of creativity then it’s best to take a more serious approach to what you wear.

That being said you want to be able to show a side of your personality off. I do this by wearing colour, or a statement necklace, a well- tailored trousers and jacket. It could be your choice of handbag, jewellery or the colour paint on your nails, a specific texture on your shirt and tie.


Embrace current trends without falling victim to them.

This is my favourite way to dress by taking a look at what’s current in the shops and adapting it to my work-wear style.

Every season a new colour arrives and while it may not suit everyone’s colouring you can still incorporate it into your work wardrobe either in your accessories (Bag, shoes) or shirts, smart tops or trousers. If it is a very loud colour its best to keep to a minimum but don’t be afraid to show a little of it.

Tailoring changes every year from the cut of trousers to a different cut of suit, skirt and dresses. Take a look at magazines which nearly always feature a work-wear section and see what works for you.


 Know your body-shape

This is the most important aspect of dressing. You should know at this stage what your shape is from apple ( carrying weight in the middle) to pear( larger hips and thighs) to straight ( thin and little difference top and bottom ) to triangular ( wide shoulders and narrow  hips) and a few more. Knowing how to dress your shape becomes easy when you know what you need to draw attention away from and what you should focus on. You can do this by selecting the right cut of suit, skirt, dresses and tops.



Broaden your horizons on where you shop for work clothes.

I like to take a trip to outlet stores where you find really good quality labels at discounted prices. These are a step up from high street in some cases but not high end. What I find from talking to my clients is they tend to stick to the same shops when they need work wear but you will never be inspired to make more of an effort if you are seeing the same thing all the time.

For females own a good pair or mid heel shoes, or flat pumps with a slight heel, a tailored suit, a pair of straight leg or bootleg trousers (throw out any threadbare or worn items) cream or white shirt or blouse blazer, dress, smart jumper or cardigan and a decent handbag (you can get really good value on the high street)

For guys, smart pants – chinos in beige, navy or black, a smart shoe, smart blazer, cardigan or jumper. Good white shirt, blue shirt, selection of ties, straight leg jeans if your office has a casual Friday.

Here are some labels and stores I like to explore for work.

Female: Reiss, Karen Millan, Hobbs, LK Bennett, Cos Warehouse, Mango, Zara, House of Fraser & Mary Portas

Male: Reiss, Next, River Island, Zara, House of Fraser, M&S, Ted Baker.


Fiona Hayes www.fhstyle.ie is an International Stylist, Retail Consultant and Events Manager. She holds qualifications in Fashion and Image Consultancy, Supply chain management, PR & Marketing. She is energetic and down to earth combining her expertise, passion and flair for personal styling with her experience in delivering a first class customer service.

Her experiences have led her to successfully audition and work under retail guru Mary Portas including the TV Show “Queen of Frocks” where she was chosen as head stylist from a field of over 400 applicants. She was responsible for implementing and maintaining a bespoke personal shopping service in House of Fraser Oxford Street and during her time in London she was an integral part of the success of the Mary Portas Clothing Brand.

Fiona focuses primarily on personal shopping for both male and female clients and is known for her ability to create a personalised wardrobe that suit any budget and lifestyle.

To contact Fiona email Fiona@fhstyle.ie or call 0861775066 to arrange an appointment.