Sharp tailoring for women

Style notes and advice on getting a great smart look with women’s suits and accessories with Next

Getting a good look for business and formal events can be overlooked by the fashion industry. Yet from smart tunic dresses to womens suits– one of UK retailer Next’s popular search categories – dressing for work accounts for a huge amount of turnover in the clothing and retail field.

What is more, with plenty of industries in media and other areas which are crucial to conveying contemporary and cutting-edge news and innovations, the way you dress can be critical in the perception and success of your business endeavours.

Indeed, whilst formalwear is regularly – and traditionally – conceived as a smart trouser suit or skirt and blazer, being able to add a touch of fashion nous or creativity can speak volumes when meeting clients, in a job interview situation, or at conferences and large conflagrations of business leaders and colleagues.

Business raised this issue at the end of 2011, a year in which more pressure was put on multinational corporations and CEOs to encourage women on the board of their businesses.

Brown textured suit jacket
Brown textured suit jacket and trousers from Next, £99

When it comes to workwear and sharp tailoring, it’s not just about the suit – this is clear. A smart, light, well-tailored basic trouser suit for the autumn and winter is a must. Pick something that makes you feel ‘businesslike’, bringing some posture and form, but not restricted. Striking the balance between formal and flexible is key.

But what will give you the edge when meeting others is accessories. Large mannish watches look lovely on slim frames and paired with feminine colours – it also conveys a sense of power and strength. Shoes are also key. Towering heels can be excellent for office-based jobs. However you’ll find that moving around regularly becomes a problem.

You can introduce some trend know-how with wedges or shoe boots, which look excellent with a pencil skirt and short, peplum blazer. Accessorise with light silver or light gold watches and a single chain necklace – no pearls in the office, darling! – which adds class and delicacy without seeming flashy.

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