January 31, 2022


Back to the office for work?  Dressing made simple

Over the last couple of years, our working environments were switched to our kitchen tables, home offices or our spare rooms as we settled into working from home. The lines of home and work were blurred and inevitably a more relaxed and casual dressing style followed.

However as many of us prepare to go back to the office for work, it’s going to mean a shift in our dressing style!  Our morning dressing routines are going to look a lot different.  For some this may be causing a little dressing anxiety as we transition from loungewear to more office-appropriate pieces.

Are you excited at the prospect of dressing up again in your smarter clothing or are you feeling a little reluctant to part company with your leisurewear?

You may need to invest a little time to reap the rewards, but trust me, it will be worth it.

But first…create your own Style Mantra

The fact is that clothes are incredibly empowering so the key to successful dressing is that we feel good in our clothes and particularly at work.  Having style confidence provides us with the power to feel comfortable, to feel authentic. Confidence in our presentation can open doors and new opportunities. Firstly we need to identify clothes that help us feel confident.

Implementing a style mantra really helps when choosing clothing from our wardrobes or when selecting new clothing.  By choosing three words that describe the feeling we want to have in our clothes allows us to apply these words to each garment we choose.  For example, feminine, edgy or professional.  We can then assess if our mantra aligns with the clothes hanging in our wardrobe.  Of course I am able to help you develop this during a Personal Styling session.

Let me inspire you to dress with confidence for your return back to the office for work.  Read on for some top tips.

Assess your wardrobe

Take some time to try everything on that you have in your wardrobe.  Does it still fit?  Does if flatter?  It matters!

Ask yourself how it makes you feel.  Our wardrobes should be a place of joy and should inspire us as we leave our homes each morning.  Wouldn’t we rather make clothing choices that have a positive impact?  I assure you that the way our clothes make us feel, influences our day ahead.

New Pairings

This editing process will shed some light on these those items that don’t look or feel good but may also highlight some new pairings and create some entirely ‘new’ looks.  Shopping our wardrobes (particularly in January) is also worthwhile and reminds us of the hidden treasures at the back of our wardrobes…and maybe with the tags still intact!

Lay your clothes out the night before

Lay your clothes out the night before

This is a great strategy and saves valuable time in the morning.  This helps us identify the stain from a garment’s last wearing or the missing button that needs replacing.  We  have time to take action when we spot it early!  Dare I say, that it’s even better of you can plan for the entire week.

Knowing what may need laundering, which shoes may need a polish, will all save dressing anguish in front of our wardrobe in the morning.  Trust me it’s a game-changer.

Work out our wardrobe neutrals

What about  wardrobe Neutrals?

We all need a neutral base in our wardrobe that make creating oufits a little simpler.  I’m talking about navy, grey, brown, beige, camel tones, white, cream and black.  In choosing our base colours carefully we will find that introducing complimentary colours to your basic outfits is simplified.

Work out our wardrobe staples

Image Credit Pexels

Image credit Pexels

Our choices will differ wildly dependent upon our own personality but also our industry or place of work.   Therefore spending money wisely on our outerwear is a good investment.  For example, a good quality leather item will look better for longer when cared for so your footwear, handbags and laptop bags are important.

Consider a great fitting blazer, a couple of blouses, a white shirt, tailored trousers and a smart pair a well-fitting jeans will all serve us well.

What if we have gained weight?

I hear this often particularly since the uncertainty of these last couple of years… we have been opting for the comfort of an elasticated waistband and lost sight of how our more tailored pieces might fit.

What can we do?

A blouse that gapes at the bust and no longer fastens can be used as a loose ‘shacket’ style layer with a smarter tee under

A shirt dress that no longer fastens can be worn open with a pair of trousers and fine knit under

The trend for more fluid trouser styles will be with us for some time so perhaps seek out a pair in a colour that can be worn with your existing wardrobe.

If you are pondering your own office return  and you are back to the office for work, take a peek at my suggestions here.

How would you feel if  your  'back to the office' dressing choices were a little simpler?  I would love to work with you personally, do get in touch if I can help.

Jackie Crawford

07494 644788

May 31, 2020


Many of us haven’t actually stopped working throughout this challenging pandemic but as restrictions begin to ease, we will soon be heading back to the workplace.  If you have had some time away from your desk, making the right impression in virtual meetings is something you may need to brush up on.

It’s daunting isn’t it when leisurewear or comfy pyjamas may have been our outfit of choice over recent weeks and months.

We may find ourselves separated to maintain a level of social distancing but connecting, networking, meeting and communicating with clients and colleagues via on-line platforms is here to stay and will certainly remain the key to keeping us healthy and visible whilst working.

Our working clothes do help project credibility but how we feel about ourselves is vitally important and having confidence in our appearance is very powerful stuff even around the home.

With technology making us more visible, it’s worth reminding ourselves that we can become complacent and mistaking our business calls with those within our leisure time.  Let's embrace it, any form of visual connection is a great opportunity to build relationships.

Let me guide you through the basics of looking good in virtual meetings which means you should look the part from the waist up to keep you on the professional track.  Of course this is really dependent upon your role and industry.


Finding the most flattering lighting position is a good start.  Find an area in your home that does not cast shadows on your face. Even lighting that shines toward your face is best.  Always bear in mind what is going on behind you – the plant pot sticking out of your right ear or a chair piled high with clothes does not create the best impression.   Your background should be tidy and do consider what a  virtual background suggests when projecting authenticity is important.

Camera Angle

Making the right impression in virtual meetings

Image showing 'Together with Jackie' welcoming Diane Brown Well-Being Life Coach

Eye-level is good.  Try to ensure that your camera is slightly higher so you are almost looking up to your camera.   Elevating your device rather than looking down to it, is more flattering.

Personal Grooming

In addition to dressing well, there is comfort in taking care of our personal grooming when we are so much more aware of ‘being watched’.  Screens can fade the colour in your face so using a little make-up can introduce some freshness into your face.  A light foundation, mascara and a swipe of lipstick is all that is required!  Remember that we all notice the small details so no nail varnish is better than chipped nail varnish.

Embrace ColourMaking the right impression in virtual meetings

There is no better time to dress yourself happy.  Introducing some colour into your wardrobe (and your environment) is a great way to increase your energy and motivation.  Colour should lift your spirits and is visually appealing when communicating on on-line platforms not forgetting that colourful accessories add impact.

I can't wait to offer face to face consultations again in my home-studio so if you fancy a colour treat when things return to ‘normal’, I’d love to help you identify the colours that make you glow.


With the arrival of the warmer weather, it may be tempting to show a little more flesh.  Keep your necklines professional and endeavour not to show too much skin.  Remember that any discomfort in your clothes can be a distraction.   Avoiding anything too low or too tight is a good solution to looking your best and feeling comfortable.

making the right impression in virtual meetingsJewellery

Does evoke a wonderful sense of happiness from the memories it triggers and has the power to lift a simple outfit to a different level.  Take care that it is not too distracting or noisy.  Bracelets that bang on your desk for example or very large earrings that can detract when they ‘wobble’.  If you've not been wearing a watch during this period, now is a good time.   Keep it simple.

Early meetings

If you happen to be communicating across World time-zones, throwing on a colourful wrap saves some time earlier in the morning!  Being prepared with a simple morning routine also helps by selecting your clothes the night before (your top half at least) and perfecting a quick make-up routine.

I hope this helps you maintain a professional presence but if you need some help via the virtual services I am currently offering, do get in touch.  I’d love to help.

Jackie Crawford

Image Consultant

07494 644788

September 30, 2019


In our less formal and modern digital world the expression   “Clothes maketh the man” has never been more relevant  which I guess has been replaced by Dressing for Success.  What we wear, our image and our personal brand, matters.  Our clothes  should enhance both our reputation and credibility.

I’d like to think that we don’t always make such snap judgements and whilst speaking generally, it is human nature to shape an impression of another in the blink of an eye.

This ‘blink’, according to studies is in-fact 7 seconds which is not so long to establish that lasting impression.

Successful women in business rarely look ‘thrown together’ or dishevelled and this is clearly no coincidence.  We should bear in mind that the clothes within our working wardrobe be considered as an investment in our future success - an ‘investment in our ourselves’.  Our appearance sends a positive message to our peers and colleagues about who we are and how we expect to be treated.  Dressing in a suitable and smart manner speaks volumes – “I know what I’m doing, take me seriously”.  If we care about ourselves and the way we present ourselves it is perceived that we also care about the job we do and also those around us.

First and foremost, it is worth thinking about the clothes we wear to our workplace each day.  Few of us have the resource to look like a catwalk model but clothing in colours and styles that flatter your own characteristics will increase your confidence, self-esteem and will undoubtedly command attention.

The key, I believe, to dressing for success, requires a plan

When we plan and gradually build a wardrobe of co-ordinated pieces, we gain maximum flexibility ultimately saving valuable time.  My suggestions here could be a starting point:

Get the balance right

There is nothing wrong with wearing a striking pair of stilettos or skin tight leather trousers but you know in your heart of hearts that this does not project the right image in many environments.  Wearing revealing necklines or inappropriate clothing will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.  Finding some business staples will give you a polished and professional look.

With the loosening of business dress codes, you still need to consider your own working environment, your position within the organisation and of course the company culture.  Our positions very often involve a ‘portfolio’ of roles and for those who are self-employed and working from home, it is still important to be clear about the image you wish to convey.  Consider also the clients you wish to attract.

The clothes required of a highly corporate environment will vary to those of a self-employed Business Coach working in say in a creative environment.

Even more formal working environments have veered away from a business suit in black, navy and grey but if it is still a need for you, colour is important here, don’t feel you have to stick to these conformist colours when it comes to the shirts or blouses you wear with them.   Don’t be too afraid of colour.  There are clever ways to infuse some personality to your working outfits.  A day in the office should not be treated as a fashion parade but think classic cuts and add your own stylish twist with accessories to give your outfit the edge.

Embrace colour and pattern into your working look

Image Credit Lindsley Weddings

Image Credit Lindsley Weddings

It is easy to inject some colour and pattern to your working wardrobe and still look professional.   A subtle pink can enhance navy blue or grey whilst a rich emerald green works well with a variety of neutrals.  It is a matter of choosing the colours and patterns that are right for you.  We can also use colour to project authority or approachability.

If you do not wear a suit for work, the same rules can be applied when wearing separates.  Add a brighter cardigan to black and white or inject the colour to your accessories but a word of warning, no need to overdo them particularly if you lack the confidence to wear a brighter colour!

What about Fashion Trends?

My advice is to wear selectively but on a positive note, does suggest you have your finger on the pulse, you are ahead with current trends.  The assumption here is that of course you are ahead of your game in your field of expertise.

Invest in your outer wear

Spend wisely where it matters most - those items that are most visible as you arrive and depart, our shoes, coats, bags and laptop bags play an important part in our overall look.


Image Credit Pexels

Image courtesy of Pexels

Selecting accessories for a business environment can be a challenge so wear your accessories wisely…simple, discreet and nothing too distracting.

The ‘less is more’ approach is good here although such self-expression can help to boost our confidence.

If you do lack the confidence to wear bolder clothing colours perhaps try a brighter colour in a single piece of jewellery, a belt or a contrasting pair of heels which is usually sufficient to pull the look together.   A good handbag is another way to inject some personality and style into your work wear wardrobe.

What about your shoes?  If you love heels and they still allow you to move around comfortably, stay with it or try a stylish loafer or elevated wedge trainer (which of course have to be spotless).  There are some great options if you wish a more comfortable option.


If however you are still confused about dressing for success, wish to understand the colours and styles that are perfect for you or you need help to discover some ‘successful’ dressing tips for your professional or social wardrobe, then please get in touch.  Better still you can call me on 07494 644788, I'd love to help you navigate the dress-code dilemma.

January 23, 2018


Having worked for many years in a corporate field and recently finding myself returning to these environments through meeting clients, it is plain to see that business dress codes have become more relaxed and for some, confusing.

For a working women, it can be problematic getting the balance just right and I am often asked ‘how to navigate the dress code dilemma and look the part’?

Our clothing influences the way we feel about ourselves and so too our own cultural and fashion preferences play a large part in this but what is clear is that if we feel comfortable in the clothes we wear, we appear and feel more confident.

To feel really comfortable at work, we first need to determine the level of business dress code appropriate for the organisations we represent and positions we hold.  Our clothing helps us to represent our positions, our companies and colleagues.

Everything we wear on our bodies says something about us so our clothing needs to reflect our status, personality, our lifestyle and preferably complement our natural colouring.

You will be familiar with the expression – ‘dress for the job you want and not the job you have’ suggesting that we are continually striving for personal improvement and development.  However working in an office or a corporate environment does not exclude us from expressing ourselves through our clothing, so these guidelines to dressing appropriately may help you.  There are a number of levels and this should provide an easy guide.

Hobbs Caitlyn SuitFORMAL BUSINESS WEAR  (click on the title for inspiration):

  • A suit comprising of matching jacket, trousers and/or a skirt, paired with a smart collared blouse/shirt with a collar or a smart structured dress with jacket. Whilst stripes, spots or discreet abstracts are acceptable,  floral dresses should be avoided for formal business
  • Choose deeper colours for your jacket, trousers or skirt
  • Choose your blouse, shirt or top in a lighter or brighter colour. Avoid anything too fussy – simple lines are more effective
  • When choosing a skirt, it should be no shorter than knee-length and a comfortable fit that is not too revealing
  • Avoid anything that exposes too much flesh
  • Tights or stockings should always be worn
  • Smart court shoes

pexels- free photo-336372 ShoesRELAXED BUSINESS (click on the title for inspiration):

The same rules apply here as with formal business wear but it is more acceptable to inject some colour and personality to your outfits:

  • Add colour to your outfit using lighter or softer colours and you may comfortably add more pattern to your clothing
  • Instead of a matching skirt or trouser suit, choose coordinated separates using a smart jacket with trousers or skirts in differing but complementary colours. For example, a smart navy jacket paired with a red skirt.

Photo credit HobbsBUSINESS CASUAL  (click on the title for inspiration):

Remember that dependent upon your position, you may still need to project authority, credibility and inspire trust in your competence.  You will still need to strike the right balance between being comfortable and being taken seriously.

  • Shirts and blouses with discreet patterns acceptable
  • Fine gauge knitwear
  • Smart tailored trousers, or smart cropped trousers
  • Structured skirts or dresses
  • Smart jackets but not denim
  • Shoes and accessories appropriate to your outfit but no scuffed or casual shoes

Dress Down Days

You should only dress one level down on a designated ‘dress-down’ day (a day to foster engagement and boost morale) and typically this falls on a Friday.  Remember that we may still be required to project a professional image and rather than a free-for-all, there should be company guidance on what is expected of you.  As a rule of thumb, if you wear it on the beach or in the nightclub, it is likely not acceptable in the workplace!

It’s the little things…

Other points to bear in mind when dressing for work is that your hair and nails should always be well groomed, your clothes should be neat and clean and shoes always polished.  In any work scenario, your clothing should always be professional and never revealing of too much flesh.  Dressing well is a way of showing respect to your colleagues and superiors that you are serious about your role.  It says, “I’m here, I’m capable and take my job seriously”.   In addition this projects confidence and self-awareness.

I do hope this helps you with some general guidance for your working wardrobe, but do please make contact with me if I can help you to build a wardrobe of clothes that supports your working and social environments.

Jackie Crawford

Image Consultant

07494 644788


NOTE: Not all outfits shown on Pinterest Boards are current retail offerings but give an indication to the style of clothing suitable for the business dress categories highlighted above.  Some of the clothing brands indicated such as James Lakeland, Gerry Webber, Basler, Betty Barclay and Phase Eight are all available from Browns of York.



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