Shopping for outfits suitable for the workplace should not be a daunting task if women can master the art of knowing what should be in their wardrobe, says image coach China Mngomezulu.
She says a correct base of timeless, sophisticated items is what every woman should strive for before embarking on a shopping spree for clothes.
In our second and last part of dressing for the office series, Mngomezulu gives us a breakdown of clothes and accessories that every working woman should have in her wardrobe if she wants to create that lasting impression in the office.
A classic white shirt is an essential. It can be accessorised and styled in countless ways. It is versatile and works perfectly with most skirts and pants already in your wardrobe. Ensure the blouse fits you well or don't buy it.
A silk sleeveless top looks great under a suit jacket and a plain black skirt.
Buy something timeless and sophisticated. Avoid bright colours or trendy designs. The suit pieces do not have to be worn together. Mix and match them with other items to create a different look. This season the tuxedo suit is back and if you are bold you will wear it as a three piece and soften it with a ruffled shirt or as a two piece with just a waistcoat. It exudes power yet is very feminine.
The pencil or A-line skirt
Alternate your suit with your favourite A-line skirt to add variety.
The classic A-line skirt is universally flattering to all body shapes.
Choose pants that flatter your figure and fit properly. Avoid pants that are tapered at the bottom. They will only accentuate what you are trying to hide. Instead, opt for wide-leg pants because they balance the body and give a slimmer shape.
Find a jacket that suits your body shape. Be careful where the jacket ends. It should not end on the widest part of your body because it will draw attention to that area. A trench coat is versatile, stylish and can be teamed up with pants, dresses, pencil skirts or jeans.
"It gives you that vavavooom that every woman needs," says Mongomezulu.
The importance of good underwear cannot be stressed enough. They determine how your clothes fit. "Seven out of 10 women wear a wrong bra. There are free bra measuring services in most retail shops, so get yourself measured to get the correct size."
Who said a bag has to be drab?
Incorporate some colour into your wardrobe by investing in a genuine leather handbag of a different shape or colour. It will give a gorgeous contrast to your dark suits.
Always have a pair of black pumps on hand.
You will get much use out of them since they can be worn with most of your wardrobe staples.
Also experiment with peep-toe shoes, patent leather heels or pretty flats, which are quickly becoming a staple in many ladies' closets and are appropriate for work as well.
A pair of genuine leather boots is also a must in every wardrobe.
Strands of pearls of varying lengths or pearl pendant necklaces give a simple and sophisticated lift to a suit. Jewellery must not be overly flashy. A simple right hand ring, stud earrings or bracelet is appropriate.
Your hair is your crown, so make sure that it's always well kempt. Making slight changes in your hairstyle freshens up your look. Headbands can also enhance your looks.
If you decide to wear jeans to work, choose trouser jeans. They're classy and you can pair them with a white button-up blouse. Jeans should be flattering to your body shape and be a perfect fit.
The wrap dress can transform from stylish work attire to a cocktail dress, with just a change of accessories. It is versatile and flattering for any woman.