How to get it right every time!
Time for a Buying Guide!
This week, I’m covering ‘smart/casual’, and the pieces you need to get it right.
Smart/casual is always a tough look to pull off but at this time of year, when the weather is so changeable and unreliable, it’s even harder.
We recently had a good discussion about this in The Style Place – my clients’ Facebook group. Many of the members of the group are self-employed and find choosing what to wear for work – which might include client-facing Skype calls, face to face meetings or attending events – a real headache.
The problem with ‘smart/casual’ is in the definition. Rather, the problem is fixed by deciding where you want to be on the spectrum. For you, how smart is too smart?
Do you worry about looking underdressed and not being taken seriously?
The answer to these questions will reflect your personal style. Classics and Dramatics are naturally going to be more comfortable at the smarter end, while Naturals would err towards a more casual interpretation.
Coincidentally, TM Lewin were in touch with me last week, to ask if I thought my readers might be interested in this guide to dressing for work that they have created. It’s actually a rather brilliant infographic, and lays it out perfectly.
Remember, you’ll also need to factor in other parameters, such as selecting colours that are kind to your skin tone, and shapes and styles that are flattering to your body, BUT, these guidelines are a really useful way of interpreting dress codes.
Of course, in order to be able to create these outfits you need to have the right ingredients hanging in your wardrobe.
Good quality basics are important, but you should also have a selection of the type of pieces that make you YOU. The interesting accessories, the prints, clothing in a particular colour palette.
SO, using the infographic as a guide, I’ve sourced some lovely pieces that can be worn in a smart/casual way. These will see you through the fluctuating temperatures, and will work well for dressing up, or down, however you feel most comfortable.
A Smart, Yet Simple Coat
A simple coat is a versatile addition to any wardrobe. Throw it on over jeans and a t-shirt and you instantly look and feel more pulled together and ready for anything.
You can add a jumper or cardigan for extra layering, if needed.
This kind of coat will work equally well over a dress, skirt or trousers. It’s a real winner.
And here’s a more purse friendly version.
A Great Pair Of Trousers
When opting for ‘smart’ trousers most women assume that they need to be worn with a crisp shirt or silky blouse and heels. For smart/casual dress, try teaming them with a good quality t-shirt or very simple top. One more step towards casual-dom would be to ditch the heels and wear with flats or even plimsolls or trainers.
Dress Up Jeans With A Pretty Or Funky Top
If you’d rather do the smart end of smart/casual on your top half, chuck on your jeans and add a gorgeous top. Throw on your coat (see above) and hey presto you are ready to go.
This blouse from TM Lewin has just the right amount of girly/drama without being too ‘out there’.
The Right Footwear
More and more women are giving up on wearing heels. Flat shoes have a reputation for being dull and boring, but this doesn’t have to be the case! If you would prefer flat shoes and you need to look and feel elegant, but you struggle to find the right pair, it can be done! Hunt down a pointed toe, soft texture or an interesting colour to soften an otherwise smart/corporate looking outfit. Here are some of my current favourites.
Loafers are having a moment right now. These beauties soften your look and are oh so comfy yet bang on trend.
They come in some gorgeous colours and textures. They look fab with a neutral coloured outfit as a pop of something quirky.
If you prefer a neutral coloured shoe but want something a bit different how about these textured shoes from Hobbs.
The pointed toe keeps things smart but the little bit of texture brings them up to date and adds a splash of drama to the outfit.
So, there you have it. If I had to pick one piece that makes casual/smart dressing easier in the springtime, it would be the coat. Every time. If a cool spring coat is missing from your wardrobe, look for one in a colour and shape that you love (and loves you back!) and pop it on your wish-list, all ready for payday.
Of course, (forgive the swift pivot!) we’ll be covering putting together different types of outfits for different personal styles and body shapes at my (sound the trumpets) one-day masterclass:
Get Your Style Sorted! Which takes place on the 13th of May in Central London.
Are going to join me, and an array of awesome women all excited to find out the secrets to developing your personal style and ALWAYS having something lovely to wear?
Find out more and book your ticket, before it gets sold out, here.
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I so wish I’d that the TM Lewin infographic when working in the City! Great blog Helen!
Thanks Judith! It’s pretty useful isn’t it 🙂