Wendy suggests the following for women to find their style:
Determine the look for your workplace and your role: Are suits required or do you work in more of a creative environment? Are you in a client-interfacing role or are you the CEO? All of these factors will impact on your dress code.
Work with your body shape: “Most of us are guilty of too harshly judging the shape of our physical being; every body is unique, but we can still assess our basic body type. For example, some women have more curves than others, some are apple-shaped, while others are pear-shaped. By applying a few simple rules of fashion and styling, you can develop a look that flatters your shape, reflects your personality, and makes a statement about how you want to be perceived by
others. I believe that we should all celebrate those things with which we are naturally endowed. It is only once we accept our own bodies, when our minds are at peace, that we can enjoy them without distraction,” says Wendy.
Work with colours that suit you: Consider having your colours assessed, or take note when friends and colleagues compliment you on a particular blouse or dress, because they usually do so because of its colour. Yes, black, white and navy are colours of choice in many a professional woman’s wardrobe. However,
splashes of colour, particularly in a blouse or accessories, can easily help personalise a good basic suit.
Invest in a capsule wardrobe of good-quality basics: It’s worth buying the best-quality, classic wardrobe items you can afford. In that way, you will be able to wear them for a few years, rather than just a season or two. For women in a professional environment, begin with a good suit, perhaps in a pin-stripe, a black pencil skirt to the knee, a pair of black trousers, and a crisp, white shirt. These items can be mixed and matched to form several combinations of outfits, with accents provided by coloured T-shirts or floral blouses and various necklaces, scarves and bags. “Just by way of example, I have a Giorgio Armani jacket in black crepe wool that is easily 20 years old, but still looks beautiful today whether I pair it with a little black dress, a pencil skirt or a pair of jeans. When you buy any item, try to pair it with at least three other items in your wardrobe – if it only works with one, then you may seldom wear it. Yes, designer items can be pricey, but one or two good-quality, classic items can easily be mixed with items from Woolworths, Country Road or Zara, which are more affordable. A stylish woman can
shop anywhere,” insists Wendy.
Remember, your wardrobe is a work in progress: Many women are disinterested in clothing, generally because they don’t have the time to shop. However, by taking more care with your purchases and planning what you’re going to wear the night before a workday, or for the duration of a business trip, you will save yourself much time and anguish. “You don’t have to get your wardrobe together overnight. Work through the clothes you have, discard those items you never wear, and give some thought to the innovative pairing of items. Then plan what versatile item you are going to buy in the coming month. Within a few months, you
can refresh your wardrobe. You really don’t need a lot of clothes to look stylish,” she says.
Wendy’s parting message, to younger businesswomen in particular, is to value themselves by taking care with their dress and grooming. “How we dress is a form of self-expression. If you look better, you feel better, and you will notice the effect on those around you,” she assures me.
To contact Wendy, log on to www.wendyprevost.co.za
It’s happened to us all. You wake up in the morning feeling energised and ready to take on the world, only to stall before your wardrobe because you’re at a loss as to what to wear.
“South African women have to find that fine balance between dressing appropriately for the office, yet still expressing their own personality through their clothes and accessories. When you look good, you feel more confident, which makes you that much more effective in your workplace,” remarks Wendy.
“We are judged on our appearance – first impressions count. When in the workplace, women need to take care to project a professional image and not have too much of their legs or cleavage on display. After all, we are there for our intellect and experience, not our bodies,” she continues.
Dress codes can vary based on the type of workplace women find themselves in. “It’s one thing to work on a construction site and another entirely to work in a big law firm, but women can still find a way to express themselves through their look, irrespective of their workplace,” she maintains.
Dressing For a Successful You!